New Ads Talk Frankly About Adult Incontinence


Adult incontinence is one of those topics that's not widely discussed in ads. But that's changing due to recent marketing efforts from Kimberly-Clark and competitor TENA, which bring the category to light through new product introductions.

In ads launched by K-C this month, via JWT, New York, men and women are shown sharing their viewpoints on life. For instance, they're asked to address questions like: “Who are better drivers, men or women?” The point of the ads is to show that men and women are different, and therefore, they have different needs when it comes to adult incontinence products. The campaign supports the launch of K-C's new gender-specific male and female underwear.

Ads from SCA Personal Care North America, the parent company of TENA, which makes Serenity products in the U.S., take a more educational approach. One ad promotes TENA's male guards with copy that reads: "They made you wear a cup in junior high with a good reason . . . Now that triangular shape is the basis for TENA incontinence protection just for men." The ad states that "millions of men" suffer from incontinence and directs consumers to a Web site,, to learn more.

TENA also has begun selling male- and female-specific lines of briefs, and is using the campaign to inform consumers that its Serenity brand will now officially be known as TENA in the U.S.

Both campaigns attempt to change the stigma behind adult incontinence, which affects roughly 25 million Americans, per the National Association for Continence, an organization dedicated to awareness and education of the issue.

Unlike current ads that are running, the new K-C and TENA ads speak frankly of leakage and not of “having to run to the bathroom” or having an “overactive bladder,” said Rachel Levkowicz, health education manager at NAFC.

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