packaged goods

Kimberly-Clark Preps Major Campaign For Depend

Depends for men and womenKimberly-Clark is launching its first gender-specific Depend adult absorbent underwear for incontinent adults.

The Dallas-based company says it is launching a design that looks and fits like regular underwear. The new Depend Underwear for Men and Depend Underwear for Women will begin replacing the Depend unisex underwear early next year, per the company. Differences by gender include variation in leg openings and positioning of absorbent material.

The launch begins in March with eight varieties going on sale in both the U.S. and European markets. The company will introduce new packaging with color-coding (blue or pink), an absorbency scale and simplified sizing structure.

The campaign for the new Depend, which K-C says will be the largest integrated marketing campaign in the history of the brand, will include TV, print and online advertising, direct mail, in-store and trial. In November, the company began touting the new line with stickers on Depend packaging.



Greg Fries, senior brand manager for the brand, says Depend campaigns of yore have communicated how consumers can continue to lead an active lifestyle even with incontinence.

"That is based on the insight that those who are incontinent have a fear of being discovered and that causes them to isolate and withdraw," he says, adding that the new campaign will be tweaked. "The new campaign will be grounded in that same insight around fear of discovery and how that causes people to withdraw. But it will also promote the vitality of senior consumers and how they are valued in ways they don't necessarily realize."

The company says it leads the $1.2 billion adult incontinence category in North America with Depend, first introduced in 1984, and Poise for women, which together comprise 50% of the market.

There is likely to be a boom market for elderly care as baby boomers are taking care of older relatives and friends. Per K-C, about 41% of the 77 million boomers in the U.S. take care of their parents or significant others. They are also approaching old age themselves, with the eldest boomers in their 60s. Those heading into the other half of life can expect the twilight years to be damp. The U.S. Census says about 19 million Americans are incontinent, and 27 million Americans "will more than likely" be incontinent by 2010.

Fries says the advertising for the new versions of Depend will run primarily on daytime cable programming such as talk shows, game shows, news programs, and soap operas. Print will run in lifestyle magazines like Good Housekeeping and Women's Day as well as in targeted publications for the demographic like AARP and Prevention.

Fries says online ads will be concentrated on sites like WebMD, where consumers are likely to search for information on incontinence. "We are also in the process of redesigning our Web site; today we offer lots of information on incontinence on our site, but as we redesign we will bring more of a community aspect to the site and give seniors a forum to communicate with one another," he says.

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