Will Depend’s New Ads, Starring Real People, Finally Erase the Stigma of Incontinence?

Kimberly-Clark brand also partners with life coach Susie Moore

In general, there's a trend in advertising toward more straight talk when it comes to treatment of potentially embarrassing conditions. And now, adult incontinence category leader Depend is making a big push into more authentic messaging with short- and long-form content starring real people who've battled bladder leakage.

The Kimberly-Clark brand has created, for the first time, broadcast spots that feature the personal stories of real men and women. The campaign, created by Organic, introduces the new, improved Depend Fit-Flex Underwear.

See the broadcast spots here:

"Our consumers really need to see themselves in the stories we're telling as a brand, rather than coming from a brand point of view and having Depend tell people how to manage their bladder leakage," Jennifer Nobui, Depend senior brand manager, tells Adweek. "Men and women really respond well when they see that others have gone before them, and have been able to live the same lives they were living before bladder leakage. When they see that people just like them can do that, they're inspired to take the same steps."

Here are the long-form videos:

Documentarian Cynthia Wade, who won an Oscar for the 2007 short doc Freeheld, directed the new spots. (She also directed this eight-minute brand film for Dove back in 2014.

"I have spent much of my career telling stories of ordinary people who, despite living authentic and meaningful lives, are often held back by something that is causing them to experience fear or embarrassment," Wade said. "I love ripping away the shame and telling a story where someone can be fully honest with the world. This is an extraordinary moment of courage."

The campaign also includes print and online ads. In addition, Depend has partnered with motivational speaker and life coach Susie Moore.

"Confidence is key to living a fulfilling lifestyle, but many men and women with bladder leakage hide away in shame," Moore said in a statement. "I couldn't be more proud to partner with the Depend brand for this program to help people with bladder leakage realize this common issue doesn't have to hold them back and encourage them to, as I like to say, 'live an unconditional, regret-free life' with products like Depend Fit-Flex Underwear."

The campaign also includes an online influencer content series; product sampling and retail support; and multiyear, multimillion-dollar charitable partnerships with United Way Worldwide and The Simon Foundation for Continence. 

Check out the print work here: