Genesis of the Piss Pad

Apparently, Whoopi Goldberg is now helping the Kimberly-Clark corporation turn more old growth forests into profits and landfill. According to Advertising Age, Goldberg is peddling piss-pads, a.k.a. “light incontinence products” called Poise, on behalf of K-C.

How did K-C’s bold entrepreneurs invent this wondrous advance in human welfare?

In the usual manner.

First, massive layoffs:

The need to reach the target market with a different type of absorbent-underwear product came out during research with women in focus groups. The introduction comes a couple of weeks after Thomas J. Falk, the chief executive of Kimberly-Clark, announced a reorganization that included the closing of 20 plants and the dismissal of about 10 percent, or 6,000, of the worldwide work force.

Mr. Falk said the reorganization was intended to free money to invest in areas like new products, research into consumer behavior and marketing campaigns.

The principal Kimberly-Clark competitor, Procter & Gamble, has been thriving of late by following just such a path, generating additional consumer interest in otherwise staid product categories with continual rounds of “news” in the form of new products under familiar brand names like Bounty, Charmin and Mr. Clean along with new brands like Febreze and Swiffer.

Next, use of focus groups to find a weakness:

And the reason they don’t want to talk about it is that they associate it, even the young women, with aged incontinence. They immediately say, “Holy cow, I’m doing to be in Depends tomorrow.’ And that’s like one foot in the grave to them.”

K-C also makes Depend, but it’s not for light bladder leakage, which also has many causes besides age.

Women are more likely to have the condition, Mr. Meurer said, if they’ve had hysterectomies or multiple children, if they’re heavier or if they’re athletes, particularly runners and tennis players.

“The marketing task is how do we move [Poise] out of the aged incontinence [mind-set]?” Mr. Meurer said. Realistically, he’s also trying to move it out of the adult incontinence sections of stores, where it sits alongside canes, Depends and orthopedic support products, and instead adjacent to feminine-care products, with K-C has already succeeded in doing at about half of U.S. Stores. [Ad Age, February 10, 2010]

Finally, big spending from the layoff savings/production speed-up, to flatter and manipulate the “targets” into buying more paper underpants:

The idea of an active lifestyle is played up in the ads.

For instance, a print ad proclaims: “This body can follow the beat. Lead the race. Move chairs, sofas. Mountains, too.” A television commercial declares: “It’s wonderful what your body can do if you’ve a mind to let it. Even bladder weakness just takes a bit of Poise.”

The commercial presents a man and woman in their 40’s or 50’s at home, in a romantic dance. At one point, his hand lingers over her derrière – implying that although she is wearing a Poise panty, it is sheer enough to elude detection.

“We wanted to make it a little sexy,” said Terril Smith, a creative director at Ogilvy New York who was the art director on the campaign, working with Alice Whitmore, creative director and copywriter.

“We’re saying: ‘You shouldn’t have to lose the intimacy. It’s discreet enough that he can have his hand on your back. You can still be as active as you want to be,’ ” Ms. Smith said. “People are keeping more active and are wanting to feel they can do more things longer.”

Mr. Meurer didn’t disclose spending, but said the campaign represents by far the biggest marketing outlay in Poise’s 14-year history, and will be worth the spending if the brand can dramatically change the nature — or lack — of conversation about the problem it addresses.

Annals of Commodification: Lotion for Men

fraud As the world careens toward ecocide and social collapse, the corporate capitalists are hard at work thinking of (wait for it…) ways to sell lotion to men:

http://www.strongerskin.com/strongerskin/

It’s  all there — all the standard marketing tactics — in this one.  Lies, flattery, “aspirational” promises, and, of course, a bedrock of carefully-researched intentional fraud.

“Weak skin” is not a real medical problem.  To the extent skin health is a real issue, it is 99 percent determined by diet, water-intake, and lifestyle habits.  Rubbing on lotion does little or nothing to make human skin “strong.”  At most, it makes skin temporarily smooth and greasy feeling.

Of course, you can’t sell lotion to men based on a desire to have soft-feeling skin for a few hours.  Hence, this stunning piece of tendentious diarrhea.

Brought to you by Unilever, the same assholes who also peddle perfume (Axe Body Spray) to teenage boys…

Vanity and Ecocide in Kleenex Marketing

Recall that, in The Sponsored Life, the great advertising critic Leslie Savan once observed that:

If you want to understand what an ad’s really up to, following the flattery is as useful as following the money.

Recall also that we here at TCT have previously reported on the Kimberly-Clark Corporation’s continuing effort to use marketing to reap profits from substituting tree fiber for handkerchiefs, as well as corporate marketers’ frequent reliance on vanity as a sales device.

Well, guess what, kids?  Yep:

box

Kleenex has now found a way to marry its ecocidal efforts to our capacity for vanity.

If only Earth could sneeze…

Honda “Experiment” Tests Shallowness, Vanity

narc Honda Motor Company is running a marketing campaign packaged as a “social experiment.” The cover story is to see how much people “love” Honda automobiles by inviting them to post personal photos and blurbs on the Facebook “social” networking site.

The truth, of course, is that what Honda is really testing is how effectively they can convert people’s petty vanity and sheer programmability into still more irrational brand loyalty.

Have people been falling into this trap?

The results thus far have blown away Mr. Peyton, who felt at the campaign’s onset that “If we got a million connections, that would be cool.” He called the push “a pretty powerful piece of advertising because people are buying into it and we aren’t giving anything away.”

Honda initially supported the site with a sprinkling of ads on Facebook. “It wasn’t a big media buy, but it got a lot of attention,” said Tom Peyton, senior manager-national advertising. Earlier this month, TV was added to the mix, with 15- and 30-second spots featuring actual owners. The commercials were created by Honda’s longtime agency, independent RPA, Santa Monica, which developed the concept. The buy, also handled by RPA, encompasses prime-time programming such as “30 Rock,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Dancing With the Stars” and NFL football.

The campaign got a huge boost after a one-day targeted homepage takeover Oct. 19 on high-reach sites, including ESPN.com, CNN.com and SportsYahoo.com. That more than doubled the number of Facebook fans into the range of 1.7 million. (As of press time Oct. 22, the number had topped 2 million).

Footnote: As of this morning, the number of victims of this campaign is approaching 2.5 million.

Flattery on Wheels: “Motorsports”

earnhardt
High-Octane Schmuck

As part of my ongoing research on automobiles-über-alles, I just watched CNBC’s documentary on the business of NASCAR.

It includes some excellent quick glimpses of the truth behind the scenes of this shameful mega-enterprise/IQ test.  Thinking they’re talking to CNBC and hence other corporate overclassers, some corporate planners briefly tip their hand about their real motives.

For instance, this admission from Tom Murphy, VP of Media and Sponsorships at the Sprint telecom corporation:

This [NASCAR] is a superior marketing asset and we judge it in the ways any marketer would, no differently than when we buy TV advertising and airtime…newspaper or magazine advertisements. This is a giant, giant ad machine.

But, while watching, I also noticed that NASCAR’s major players go out of their way to call car racing “motorsports.”

That’s another great proof of Leslie Savan’s observation that much of marketing’s symbolism is a way of flattering the perceiver.

“Motorsports!” Yeah, driving a car is now a “sport.”

P.S. The photo above is the mega-dolt peckerwood Dale Earnhardt, Jr. standing outside the fake “old western town” he has had constructed on his North Carolina property.

Talk about an excellent advertisement for radically progressive taxation…

Pubic Hair & Market Totalitarianism

pubes If you’ve been fortunate enough to see — one way or another — much private anatomy in recent years, you’ll be aware that we live in an age of de rigueur pubic (that’s p-u-b-i-c, not p-u-b-L-i-c) shaving. Supposedly edgy and hip rather than creepy and infantilizing, this practice is truly rampant, from what I’ve (ahem) seen.

How hip and independent is it, really, though, to shave your junk?

Not so much. Not so much at all.

Take a look at this viral marketing video from the Gillette Corporation.

Note the instructions to “make sure” to use shaving cream not soap, the very latest 5-blade razor (one wonders where this bit of the marketing race will end — 57 blades?), and, of course “moisturizer” (the substance formerly known as “lotion”). All these just happen to be products made by Gillette, so what might a rational soul make of its chummy, flattering, “hip” shaving “advice”?

The real story, of course, is that the existence of body hair has now become a great marketing vehicle for the shareholding class, complete with the standard tools of big business marketing: false promises (larger penises and more “fun” will result for those who do as they’re programmed to do by Gillette and the “viral” “culture” it is sponsoring) and threats (if you don’t use the newest Gillette Fusion razor, you might shave off your vitals).

As in so many areas, all this speaks to our howling need to make the 2010s into a new and improved 1960s.

Along the way, why not lose the shave-bot programming and the sponsored pseudo-hipsterism? Why not lose the chains of corporate babydom and cull the living, hairy, grown-up flower?