Kimberly-Clark teamed with Target this summer for a program heralding the arrival of the manufacturer’s new Pull-Ups premium, plant-based training underwear line.
Launched nationally in August, Pull-Ups New Leaf is positioned as the brand’s softest training underwear that is made with plant-based materials. Designed for both toddler boys and girls, the line is adorned with characters from Walt Disney Co.’s “Frozen 2” as part of an exclusive licensing agreement. The line’s arrival comes about a year after the launch of plant-based Special Delivery diapers from sister-brand Huggies.
“On the surface, it might be easy to think of diapers and training pants as two separate categories because they are usually merchandised that way in-store and online,” says K-C’s Brett Conway, senior brand manager-shopper marketing. “But from a consumer perspective, it’s obviously the same parents that are moving their toddlers from diapers right into training pants, so it’s critical that we provide parents with products that help them have a seamless experience. When we launched Huggies Special Delivery diapers last year, we knew we had to take that same elevated product experience into the training pant category.”
Partnership with Target
As it did with the launch of Huggies Special Delivery, K-C partnered with Target and the retailer’s Roundel in-house media company “early and often, to ensure we had the best product, packaging, promotions and marketing support,” Conway says. For example, the partners went back and forth on several iterations of New Leaf’s packaging design to make sure it met K-C’s needs, and also was spot on for Target’s shoppers.
When it came time to launch Pulls-Up New Leaf, the marketing plan included a Target.com landing page, coupons for Target Circle members, digital ads on Target.com and external websites, sponsored ads on Pinterest (via Roundel), a dedicated endcap in stores and email marketing (executed by News America Marketing, New York).
K-C also engaged social influencers (via Cincinnati-based Ahalogy) “to share their unique experience with New Leaf,” says Stephani Brockmann, account director at Geometry. “It was really cool because we not only reached their organic followers, but we also used their content to create paid social posts, which we then amplified via social media.”
As K-C’s shopper marketing agency, Geometry worked in lockstep with the manufacturer, workshopping an entire toolkit around the launch that included identifying key audiences (with the help of Mindshare), messaging points and creative visuals that allowed for a consistent feel across retailers, Brockmann says. Geometry also helped create and execute the final launch plan.
Geometry deserves additional kudos for its expertise working with Target, according to Conway. “Roundel has unique requirements and restrictions and things like that – as all retail media networks do,” he says. “Geometry knows those things so when they created this toolkit for us it made the process a lot more seamless.”
Stressing Convenience During, Beyond Pandemic
Knowing Target shoppers tend to be more digitally engaged, K-C and Geometry knew from the start they wanted the program to lean heavily on digital. “But, when COVID-19 hit, we definitely put a greater emphasis on it,” Brockmann says. “We started talking about not only activating digitally but [asking] how can we start talking to [shoppers] to help them safely shop all of their essentials. So we started including messaging around drive-up and pickup so that mom and dad know ... that they can get everything they need digitally and safely.”
As far as advice for other brands moving forward during the pandemic, Brockmann stresses the importance of meeting shoppers where they are right now: online. “Convenience is really, really important for people right now,” he says. “So I think when people are planning during COVID-19, they want to keep the focus on offering solutions that will help make people’s lives easier because people aren’t making those trips to Target strolling down the aisles every day now.”
It’s really important to think beyond simply selling the product into Target or the launch plan on target.com, Conway adds. “I think it’s really, really critical to think about how you’re going to infuse convenience and same-day services really early. It’s a shift in the way we think about launching a program ... [at] Target, but it’s a really important shift and, at the end of the day, it’s going to drive more sales.”