Challenging a cliché perception of a woman’s menstrual cycle, on March 16, 2010, Kotex encouraged women to “break the cycle” and transform the conversation surrounding woman’s health.
The 90-year-old feminine care brand’s trendy new line, Kotex U, is being promoted through a series of ads aimed to poke fun at the tired visual clichés and euphemisms of menstruation we have seen in advertisements for the past five decades. This new product line serves as the brand’s first step in redefining the tone and positioning of the brand by means of encouraging women to change the conversation surrounding feminine care from one of shame and embarrassment to one of open, honest dialogue. ”The way the Kotex brand will be positioned in the future will be very different,” said Andrew Meurer, Vice President of North American Group Brands Feminine/Adult/Senior Care at Kimberly-Clark. “We are changing our brand equity to stand for truth, transparency and progressive vagina care. Moving forward, the tone of the Kotex brand’s marketing will adhere to its new tagline – Break the Cycle.”
The new U by Kotex line, which includes tampons, pads and liners, has a distinctive and edgy attitude that shows in the eye-catching packaging. The U by Kotex product launch is supported by an integrated marketing campaign that includes a product placement on the Tyra Banks Show; a cause-related campaign entitled ‘Declaration of Real Talk’ supporting Girls for a Change; a community-driven Web site; targeted print, TV and online advertising; direct-to-consumer online communications; extensive consumer sampling and retail in-store support.
The TV commercial spots take on a comical, yet frank approach to selling feminine care products: We could describe the young, attractive ethnically ambiguous spokesperson who knows you’ll love her, or other characters of the animal variety, but a lot is lost in translation so view them for yourself.
Along with these self-spoofing commercials (after all, Kotex ran industry-standard ads for years), the new campaign launch includes a community-driven Web site. Visitors to the U by Kotex Web site can sign a “Declaration of Real Talk” (which encourages women to take ownership of their womanhood) and also request freebies of the brand’s new stylish products.
“U by Kotex empowers women and young girls to challenge euphemisms that hide the truth,” stated Aida Flick, Kotex brand director. “As the brand that created the feminine care category more than 90 years ago, it is only appropriate that the Kotex brand is once again taking the lead in empowering women to change the conversation around the importance of women’s health.” The campaign has already made headlines because several networks censored the use of the word “vagina,” as well as other expressions. Will this smart, witty and somewhat controversial campaign break the cycle and transform the discussion? Some would say it already has.