Effie Case Study: Real Women of Depend

Program: Real Women of Depend

Manufacturer: Kimberly-Clark

Lead agency:  Geometry Global

Contributors: Organic Inc., Marina Maher Communications, Mindshare

Award: Bronze, Single-Retailer Program – Mass Merchants

Kimberly-Clark and the Depend brand fight a difficult challenge of perception. People think of them as “old-people diapers.” In fact, company research showed that women in their 40s and 50s who experience bladder leakage are too embarrassed to buy the product so they attempt to self-treat with pads, a feminine care product they’re used to. Depend absorbent underwear is a neighbor to leakage pads on the shelf, but shoppers won’t give it a second look.

So for the launch of the Silhouette Active Fit absorbent underwear product (an underwear with a modern, fashionable design), K-C faced two very tall hills to climb: First, a mountain of shopper self-esteem, and second, Procter & Gamble, who has the Always Discreet brand and a lot more resources. The strategy was a Walmart-specific effort that put “real women” wearing the Depend product in the foreground of a social effort and in-store sampling.

For the new Silhouette product, the national creative centered on models in the streets not wearing pants to show off the new absorbent underwear in a fashionable way, as if it were part of the woman’s daily look.

However, for the Walmart play, K-C highlighted three women who shop at Walmart to share their story of dealing with bladder leakage. The women were influential bloggers and became the face of a pre-store effort including print ads in Women’s Day and All You, a Walmart Price Feature Plus adjacent to a national FSI, e-blasts and direct mail, WMX-targeted media on, and social content on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The digital content drove consumers to a place to receive a sample pack of the underwear. In stores, trial packs were available as well as a new smaller single-count and four-count pack that lessened the strain or embarrassment of buying vs. the traditional big, bulky packs that remind shoppers of buying diapers. A clip strip and feature display also supported.

In the end, Walmart loved the program, seeing a 40% jump in incremental sales in the category that ran in concert with K-C’s 40% bump in incremental gains for itself. Over a span of nine months, Walmart saw a lift in the feminine-care category by 31%, and the digital effort pushed out 50,000 samples in the first four months.