U by Kotex Research Leads to Online Community for Girls

Posted on by Patricia Odell

It can be a taboo topic and not one that flows easily in conversation especially among young girls: vaginal health and wellness.

Even so, it is a very important topic to Kimberly-Clark and its U by Kotex brand, a line of tampons, pads and liners available in brightly colored, eye-catching designs targeting girls 14 to 22. So it was in 2009, that K-C began to learn more about how girls deal with the topic.  

Through a research project with Harris Interactive, K-C discovered that changes were underway in the way girls do talk about issues related to their bodies, specifically vaginal health and wellness. With that information in hand, in March 2010, K-C launched U by Kotex with messaging to empower women to change the conversation around women's health.

The launch was followed by another study that revealed that more than 50% of the girls said it was hard to separate myths from facts and that they did, in fact, want to talk about it. The resulting insights were that these girls wanted and needed education about vaginal health along with a safe place for discussion and ways to share that newfound information with friends.

Enter the latest marketing push around U by Kotex, GenerationKnow.com, a new branded information and social hub where girls can get the facts from peers, moms and health experts and get involved in local projects. GenerationKnow.com is the online centerpiece of a major integrated campaign this year targeting the core market of girls ages 14 to 22.

“We want to reach these girls at the point of brand adoption, when they are experimenting with different products,” Lauren Kren, brand manager for U by Kotex, a K-C brand, said. “At some point during that journey she tends to become brand loyalty so U by Kotex wants to be there.”

The online site, which went into beta testing at the end of Summer 2012 and officially launched Dec. 27, 2012, has recorded more than 3,000 unique actions and 200,000 requests have been made to receive the free Generation Know bracelet (left).

“Girls want the conversation, we have the data that shows that and we’re already making strides at the beginning of this program,” Kren said.

The site offers a variety of information and articles, a site to “Get the Facts” or “Take Action” as well as U by Kotex product information.  There are panels of experts and advocates, as well as four girls who each lead frank mini-documentaries, created with Ogilvy & Mather. For example, “Break the Silence,” is led by blogger, Kat Lazo, to encourage girls to talk about their health and bodies. “Bust a Myth” engages girls in busting vaginal health and wellness myths by posting facts. Hillary-Anne Crosby, founder of the zine, “Vagina”, leads this project.

The two other documentaries tie to U by Kotex’s partnership with Girls for a Change, an organization that empowers young women to lead social change. “Dear Little Sister,” is led by Aline Sibomana, a member of Girls for a Change and “Spread the Word,” asks girls to help change the xx around vaginal health and wellness by joining Girls for a Change and downloading an action kit that teaches them how to make a difference in their own community. For every girl that joins, U by Kotex will make a donation to Girls For A Change, up to $500,000.

This year, a major marketing campaign gets underway promoting the site and U by Kotex product line that includes TV spots, retail support and digital partnerships.At major retailers, packaging carries Generation Know graphics and information about a supporting sweepstakes offering a grand prize $5,000 to apply to the winner’s education, which, of course, is what Generation Know is all about. And on the social front there are plenty of ways for members to push out content to their social circles.

“We’re optimistic that this program will help us continue to grow sales,” she said.

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