Kotex explores myths around the vagina

We always see the same brand case studies online.  The brands are always very trendy, like Nike, Adidas or Red Bull.  But there are many incidences of brands trying out new things, in industries that on the surface, seem a lot less sexy.

When you’re a feminine hygiene brand, it’s not always easy to find the right angle to speak out from, or to build the digital part of your brand strategy.

But this happens to be a sector where brands are being especially creative.

We all remember the famous P & G site “Being a Girl”, following teenage girls at the earliest age to convert them as quickly as possible to the group’s products.  And remember the video response to a comment on BodyForm’s Facebook page ?

Kotex is a very young brand (launched in 2010 by Kimberly Clark), but it that got itself noticed from the start with its “U by Kotex” campaign, in which the brand made fun of classic advertising for tampons and sanitary napkins :

A the same time, they released a series of videos and statistics on people, menstrual periods and related topics, like this one which highlights men’s embarrassment when having to buy feminine hygiene products.

On their website, one can find useful tools for women, like a tool for following one’s period and one letting you create your own personalized calendar.  But the main characteristic of the site is its honest dialogue for women.

U by Kotex, a more social site, lets women “break the silence” by sharing experiences relating to their period and their vagina.

In fact, as intimate as the subject may seem, several million people signed up on the site to show their support for the brand’s initiative.

Consumers are not stupid and don’t want to be treated as such.

According to Kotex, blue liquids and shots of women who are happy because they have their period are totally obsolete.

In fact, when the brand chose the Kardashians as the face of their product for its launch, encouraging total honesty by allowing internet users to ask them questions, the tone was set.

Let’s not forget that Kotex also launched the very first viral campaign on Pinterest.  More than just a PR exercise, the brand’s entire positioning is interesting because it’s different and firmly centered around the consumer.

The goal behind the brand’s different communication activities : to modify the perception of the word “vagina” and more importantly, to change women’s relationship to their vagina. On Facebook, you can find quotes like : “Life isn’t always predictable.  Menstrual periods aren’t either.”  It’s a very visual page, optimized for edgerank, of course.

This approach is based on simple consumer knowledge (a study conducted with 1600 women in the U.S.) :

  • 63% of girls feel that no one has spoken to them enough about health problems related to their vagina.
  • 56% of girls don’t feel sufficiently informed on the subject
  • 69% of girls consider that the word “vagina” has a negative connotation, is even disliked in our society

The brand works with doctors and health experts.  Its site allows women to demystify the subject by asking whatever questions they want.

In the end, when you know the answer to “why?”, it’s much easier to deploy the strategy across the various communication tools, digitial or otherwise.
The brand has definitely positioned itself through an approach encouraging honestly and dialogue.

It’s important to note that their 2013 campaign goes even further in this direction :



A case study isn’t a case study without a tangible business result.  In 3 years, the brand has received 3 million sample requests and its market share has jumped from 4% to 7.8%.

gregfromparisAuteur: Grégory Pouy
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