Poise has tapped comedic actresses Sherri Shepherd -- co-host of ABC's "The View" -- and Cloris Leachman -- star of Fox's "Raising Hope" -- for the Hot Flash Road Show, a two-city sketch comedy show offering a humorous take on menopause. The tour is part of the Kimberly-Clark division's "The 2nd Talk" (www.The2ndTalk.com) campaign supporting a new line of Poise products for menopause. The idea is to make the life change something that some 50 million women -- those approaching menopause and those in the midst of it -- can talk about.
The Hot Flash Road Show stopped in New York at Florence Gould Hall on Sept. 21 and will be in Los Angeles at the Brentwood Theatre on Oct. 5. The company says the goal is to get one million women joining The 2nd Talk by World Menopause Day on Oct. 18.
Supporting new Poise Roll-On Cooling Gel and Body Cooling Towelettes (for hot flashes), Personal Lubricant to treat vaginal dryness, Panty Fresheners and Feminine Wash, the tour gets statistical support from a Harris Interactive study commissioned by K-C, in which women cited humor as their second-most-popular mechanism for coping with this life stage.
The study also offered a glimpse into women's feelings about menopause -- and the results were not good, but probably also not surprising, given our obsession with youth and the tendency to politely ignore certain life changes. Rebecca Dunphey, Poise brand director at Kimberly-Clark, says the company found that most women feel there is stigma associated with menopause, and they themselves have negative perceptions. She said the company's own social-media outreach supported those findings. "It was interesting to see women play that back to us; they would say they didn't know that changes were coming, didn't know know what to expect, and said there is stigma around it. Also, we found most women can't name the symptoms."
Dunphey explains that "The 2nd Talk" began in July. "We had absorbent products for 20 years, and in July launched this new line of products for menopause," she says, adding that the launch included TV, print, online, and PR elements. Using humor is not new for Poise, which tapped Whoopi Goldberg to help take the stigma away from issues like bladder leakage, a recently ended two-year partnership. "Taking the light side helps women relate to issues like menopause."
The show itself has a Second City feel, with short skits highlighting menopause issues and the 2nd Talk program. Dunphey says the company didn't do advertising to tout the shows, but generated buzz to drive consumers to the website via PR. While the New York show only had room for 320 attendees, it was simulcast to Toronto, to bring in Canadian consumers. "We will also take the show and 'slice it' into to consumable pieces for online viewing," she says. The clips will be on sites like YouTube, with long-form content online on platforms optimized for longer video presentations.
The company is supporting the program at retail, with in-store signage, direct-mail efforts, and customer-specific shopper marketing programs. Dunphey says the campaign is likely to be extended. "I think we are definitely open to doing it more next year, as we drive it as a platform and brand," she says.