Are you ready for manly soda? - Las Cruces Sun-News

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People always ask me: "Why would you order a bacon cheeseburger, greasy fries, but then drink a Diet Coke?"

The simple answer? I like Diet Coke (or Pepsi or RC or whatever). That should be pretty simple to understand. But Dr Pepper Snapple Group thinks I am in the minority for my gender and that most men don't want to drink diet drinks. So the company has unveiled Dr. Pepper 10.

This is a 10-calorie soft drink that is being introduced with what Associated Press retail writer Mae Anderson refers to as a "macho ad campaign that proclaims 'It's not for women.'"

In this way, men can enjoy a low calorie soft drink without feeling embarrassed.

Anderson points out that Dr. Pepper Ten is not the first diet soda aimed at men, but it is the first to be so overt about courting men.

In a similar vein, but in a different direction, Beam Inc., the maker of Jim Beam bourbon, is trying to grab the attention of the distaff demographic. The company is now marketing its Courvoisier cognac infused with red wine, tart Pucker vodka and low-calorie Skinnygirl cocktails to women.

"Two years ago, 100 percent of our marketing was geared to men," Global Chief Marketing Officer Kevin George told Bloomberg News. "We weren't talking to women in any specific way."

Writer Duane Stanford reports that the idea for Beam to increase its focus on women happened basically by accident. In 2009, the distiller introduced a black cherry-infused Jim Beam. Marketers gave the whiskey a

masculine name, Red Stag, and signed Kid Rock to pitch the product. As sales took off, Beam discovered women were buying the sweeter concoction at almost three times the rate at which they typically bought bourbon.

Whether Dr. Pepper's or Jim Beam's new campaigns find success remain to be see. What I do know is that drinking a diet cola does not make me embarrassed in the least.

Come on guys, don't be so vain! Drink whatever you want, but don't do so because of image. That's not very manly.

The news has come down the pike recently - and not surprisingly - that Bank of America plans to start charging a $5 fee for its customers to use a debit card. Since BOA is often the trend-setter in the business, many people expect other banks to jump on board with similar fees.

There has been much weeping and gnashing of teeth about the move.

"They're going to charge you to use your own money," is one complaint I've often heard.

Well, that is true, but that is nothing new. Depending on your bank and type of account, many banks charge people a monthly fee to have a checking account. You also have to pay for checks themselves.

So a $5 fee to use a debit card is not such a bad situation, in my opinion. After all, banks are a business providing a service, and it should not be surprising that you have to pay for that service.

There is an argument to be made that, yes you could keep your money under your mattress and not pay bank fees, but that is very impractical and dangerous. So you need a bank. If all banks charge a fee, you can still shop around, but you are stuck paying that fee. So, in that regard, if banks start charger higher and higher rates, I'll join in the complaints.

For now, though, the idea of a mild debit card fee is acceptable.

Brook Stockberger can be reached at (575) 541-5457

15 Oct, 2011

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