Just about everything is customizable these days. Everything but feminine care products -- at least until now. Kimberly-Clark last year launched U by Kotex with the premise that feminine care products don't have to be clinical. Now the company is saying they don't have to be monochromatic. It has launched an interactive program that involves consumers serving as product and packaging designers for a series of pads whose consumer-generated aesthetic they can then vote on.
"Ban the Bland" directs young women to BanTheBland.com, where they can use tools to create designs for the U by Kotex products and packaging. The three participants whose designs consumer-voters deem most worthy will then work with stylist Patricia Field (who has been a stylist for shows and movies like "The Devil Wears Prada," "Ugly Betty" and "Sex and the City") to create a new U by Kotex product for introduction next year. The winners also get to attend a runway show at Fashion Week in New York City.
The company is promoting the Web-centered effort with a 30-second TV spot that broke this week on MTV, E!, VH1, Fox, CW11 and ABC Family. There are also print ads and in-store samples. The TV spot has a lot of girls participating in creating a graffiti mural.
Kimberly-Clark is accepting consumer designs through June 29 with consumer voting running Aug. 1-24. The company is donating $1 to Girls For A Change, a national non-profit organization, for every person who enters a design.
The company will also launch a limited edition U by Kotex designer series, "BoHo," "Poptimistic," "Freestyle "and "Punk Glam" that go on sale this July, along with a limited-edition carrying tin designed by Field.
Melissa Sexton, integrated marketing director, adult feminine care brands at K-C, tells Marketing Daily that the evolution toward designs makes sense, given the premise of the U by Kotex brand. "I think this really is consistent with U by Kotex and idea that it's a brand that gives women a voice," she says. "When we launched last year we wanted to challenge the landscape and generate conversations around the category and product. This year it's about taking a look at the products themselves and challenging the idea that they have to be light and boring."
Sexton adds that even though nobody sees the product when it's in use, and it is discarded, the design aspect is important to a lot of women. "I think it's so much about the fact that there are so many choices in all aspects of our lives in terms of design access and customization, and feminine care should not be an exception."