For more than 10 years we’ve been doing research about “below the belt” type products and categories. Yup. Lots of stuff about “intimate” things. If you aren’t comfortable talking about stuff “down there” then you wouldn’t be good on our team.
We’ve talked about waxing, itching, leaking… and whenever we do women talk about how bad fem hy advertising is. They are embarassed by the euphemisms and imagery of women wearing white pants and bikinis. BUT when we have shown them more candid creative executions that take some liberties and even poke a little fun at the category, they back off their criticism and admit that they really don’t want anyone to talk about this stuff too graphically. Adult women just aren’t super comfortable talking about these things even if they pretend that they are. Trust me, I’ve heard more than one woman (old and young) refer to their menstrual cycle as “aunt Flo” or “her friend”.
So when I read about Kotex’s new campaign in an Andrew Adam Newman’s article in The New York Times I was intrigued. Here is what I love:
I love that the work is taking a Go Big or Go Home attitude and I think that if a brand like Kotex doesn’t take these kinds of risks that it will disappear into the sunset after being trampled by competitors. I’m impressed that JWT was able to get this strategy approved. I would love to have been a fly on the wall during these brainstorming sessions.
I love the inside baseball type references to market research!
I love that packaging in this category is getting more modern. This U by Kotex packaging is definitely a departure (black versus baby pink).
Here is what I worry about as a business strategist:
Will women, especially the young ones ages 14-21 that are being targeted, be brave enough to laugh at these jokes? Is any 14 year old girl confident enough for that? Plus if you are 14 years old you haven’t really been exposed to the historically bad category advertising to get the joke. Sort of like why I don’t think that 14 year olds and 40 year olds appreciatte Facebook for the same reason – if you are 14 you aren’t old enough to have lost touch with people! Who are they reconnecting with?
I also worry for Kotex that the work will be like Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty. Consumers will be relieved that someone has spoken the truth but that they won’t be motivated enough to change their behavior or their brand preference. Will a good, clever message equal increased sales? Remains to be seen I guess.
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