Kotex Push Targets ‘Period Panties’

Kotex is targeting a secondary effect of periods—drab panty collections—with a promotion called “Kotex Project Makeunder” that aims to take such assortments from “drab to fab.”

The contest, which launched earlier this month, builds off an initiative the Kimberly-Clark fem care brand launched in January. To reinforce its “Panty-Approved Protection” message, Kotex issued a challenge asking women to wear its pads for one week when their periods arrived. If, for any reason, the products failed, K-C bought the consumer a new panty. That program, which carried a shopping spree sweepstakes component, drew 50,000 entrants.

Now Kotex is building on that momentum with a new site, KotexProjectMakeunder.com, that encourages women to submit videos detailing how their lingerie drawers became so dull. Contestants may submit videos up until the middle of next month, and K-C and a panel of judges will choose 10 finalists for the next round.

Those finalists will be given a flip cam and asked to explain why they deserve a makeunder from the two celebrities K-C has tapped for the campaign: comedian Kathy Griffin and George Kotsiopoulos, a Hollywood stylist. K-C will then document the transformations via a Webisode series—which will be co-written by Griffin.

Aida Flick, Kotex brand director, said the effort stemmed from two pressing consumer insights. One was, “Mention the word ‘period panty’ to any woman and she knows what you’re talking about,” she said, referring to how women often reserve their least vibrant pair of panties for that time of the month. The second insight has to do with the fact that as a woman ages, her lingerie collection also becomes less impressive as family and work priorities take over.

Though the effort comes as others in the category, like Procter & Gamble’s Tampax, have been more upfront about what the products are used for,  Marti Barletta, CEO of The TrendSight Group, said Kotex’s overall strategy is a smart one, but she’s not sure the current effort will work. “It’s really smart to recognize that young women and men these days just aren’t anywhere near as ‘mortifiable’ as previous generations were about feminine hygiene,” she wrote in an e-mail. But, to “lay my lingerie drawer open for criticism” by fashion experts and to win a prize based on that? “Are you kidding me?” she asked.