Marketing Design Awards: Grand Prix


Client: Kimberly-Clark

Agency: Coley Porter Bell

WINNER The judges of the 2004 Marketing Design Awards reviewed so many excellent design solutions that it took a submission of exceptional quality to achieve the stand-out required of a Grand Prix winner.

The judges were unanimous that last year's relaunch of Kimberly-Clark sanitary protection brand Kotex was worthy of the accolade. Everything about the work associated with this redesign was of the highest quality, from the boldness of the brand identity and packaging to the impact the activity had on Kotex's market share and brand perception.

Agency Coley Porter Bell's brief was simple - to reinvigorate a brand that was in decline, with a weak image and low awareness levels. This was to be achieved without any additional investment or product innovation on the part of Kimberly-Clark.

Numerous relaunches and heavy investment in new product launches had failed to stem Kotex's decline, while previous research had failed to illuminate a path forward.

To add to the challenge, the category sector in which Kotex operates was not only dominated by rival Always, but also was one that consumers were highly reticent toward in terms of marketing communication.

The key to meeting these obstacles head-on was to ensure the design solution moved beyond talking about periods to a more generic interaction about femininity - in practice, switching the focus of the marketing from sanitary protection to personal care.

Coley Porter Bell undertook research which sought to better understand women as women, rather than vehicles for periods.

The findings were integrated into the packaging and point-of-sale design, with the brand's bold red dot - previously used to symbolise menstruation - downsized and replaced with images from the worlds of beauty and fashion.

Every last detail was explored, including the icon it had used of a man disposing of a pad in a waste bin, which was changed to a more appropriate female figure.

The results of the relaunch were immediate. Across Europe, the brand achieved major changes in consumer perceptions of the packaging's attractiveness and standout, and there was a 144% increase in the perception that 'Kotex was a particularly feminine brand'.

The transformation of consumers' image of the brand propelled a significant sales increase across Europe and established Kotex as a serious challenger to Always - even in markets where no previous share of voice had existed.

One customer feedback quote best sums up the impact the redesign had on the Kotex brand: 'Thank you so much for being the first company ever to package tampons in a way that doesn't scream to the entire world "I am on my period." You have a customer for life.'


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