Is it risky to promote products for that time of the month to teenagers by speaking frankly -- instead of, well, showing summer dresses, flowers and fields of green? Kimberly-Clark's Kotex sub-brand for younger girls, U by Kotex, thinks not. A new campaign that focuses on digital elements is an effort to build on the brand's straight-ahead approach to the product, which launched as a designer-packaged item in 2011 with the tagline "Break the Cycle."
The campaign also aligns with the company's broad approach about avoiding cliches when it comes to a range of products dealing with physiological issues nobody really wants to talk about, at least in public.
Specifically, the new effort, "Generation Know," is aimed at dissolving myths and misinformation around vaginal health and wellness. The campaign begins with TV ads that launched Monday, and a redesigned Web site (www.GenerationKnow.com) where girls can get the facts, pass along knowledge and take part in projects intended to -- in the company's words -- "Create social change."
There are also online documentaries featuring real girls who are active in talking about the issue, an extension of a partnership with "Girls For A Change."
Lauren Kren, U by K brand manager, tells Marketing Daily that the essential message of the brand hasn't changed since it launched. "It's been about giving girls a voice. This campaign is in line with the essence of the brand." The campaign is via Ogilvy & Mather New York, Organic, Marina Maher Communications, Mindshare and Ogilvy Action.
She explains that the campaign comprises a TV spot in 15-, 30- and 60-second formats. The ad shows real girls debunking myths about menstruation and other vaginal-health issues.
Kren says there are point-of-sale elements to the campaign, including a retail sweepstakes program, and there are various partnerships. The company did research last year that helped shape the campaign, per Kren. "We got a lot of insights around girls' awareness and understanding. We found that about 50% of girls have a hard time separating myth from fact." She adds that a lot of girls believe one can lose one's virginity by using a tampon; PMS is entirely psychological; you can't get pregnant when you are menstruating, and even that during that period of the month, you shouldn't go camping where bears roam.
The media focuses on youth-skewing programming like MTV, Entertainment, and digital properties like WebMD and BuzzMedia. There will also be "Girls for Change" events in 10 cities -- eight in the U.S. and two in Canada.