Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dr Pepper Ad Analysis

The picture I chose to analyze is an advertisement for a new type of Dr. Pepper that has just been released. This new type of Dr. Pepper only has 10 calories, but those 10 calories are only for men. The ad states that it's not meant for women. I think this ties into my group's topic of women's rights/feminism very well. The ad may have seemed like it was being sexist or against feminism but I don't believe that was the ultimate point of this picture, which I'll discuss more later. The advertisement is very simple and almost plain looking. There's a can of Dr. Pepper, a glass filled with ice and Dr. Pepper, and the words 'IT'S NOT FOR WOMEN'. My eyes immediately went to the words and then went to the can and glass. I do think that was the intention of the advertisement. There is also a commercial to go with this ad. In the commercial, there's two men who are supposed to be in a movie and they're doing what is to be considered manly things such as four-wheeling and being very muddy/dirty. They state in the commercial that no women would like this movie and that also means that no women would enjoy the new Dr. Pepper. As I conducted further research about this advertisement, I found that the company was trying to target men as an audience because not many men are drawn to 'diet' sodas (Kain). So they figured that by using an advertisement like this, the pop would appear as manly and the men would want to drink it even though it's only 10 calories (Kain). I don't necessarily believe that this is sexist, but I do believe that it can be offensive.

The first thing I would like to discuss is Foss' idea of human intervention. The can and glass of pop are simply a can and a glass of pop until you add the words to the image. This becomes visual rhetoric when it all comes together. This transformation from non-rhetoric to visual rhetoric is called human intervention (Foss). Human intervention is strategically using colors, words, images, etc., to make something non-rhetorical become rhetorical (Foss).

The next thing I would like to discuss is Foss' idea of the function of an image. Foss defines the function of an image as an action that the image is trying to communicate (Foss). I believe the function of this image could be interpreted in two different ways. One function would be to catch peoples' attention and persuade people, especially men, to buy this new type of Dr. Pepper. Once again, I don't think that they were trying to be sexist or offensive but I believe many women were offended by this advertisement. There was a lot of talking on Facebook about this advertisement by many women who were offended; and there is the second function. Dr. Pepper got their name out there (Kain). How often does Dr. Pepper come up in everyday conversation? I would be willing to guess it's not brought up very often. I would also say that many women would want to know what all the hype is about with this new pop so they proceeded to go out and buy it to try it. So all in all, I believe this image could be interpreted in many different ways but I believe these would be the main two objectives.

Works Cited:
Foss, Sonja K. "Chapter 9." Theory of Visual Rhetoric. 141-52. Web.
Kain, Erik. "Dr. Pepper's Bizarre New 'Not for Women' Ad Campaign." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 18 Oct. 2011. Web. 16 Mar. 2012. <>

Author: Holly P.

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