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Creativity 50 2011: Anthony Palmer

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Anthony Palmer
Anthony Palmer

Tony Palmer is maybe the last guy looking to make a creativity list, take credit for creative breakthroughs or feel his work is done. He routinely shares the credit and shuns the limelight. But in four years on the job as chief marketing officer of Kimberly-Clark Corp. the affable Australian, who really did once have a pet kangaroo and , has helped put in place a system that's brought much-talked-about creative work to some of the most mundane and unspeakable categories of the often-staid packaged-goods world.

Among the work has been ads for U by Kotex mocking the long tradition of blue-fluid demos, a design-your-own pad contest for the same brand, Kleenex boxes that look like fruit wedges, Huggies diapers that look like blue jeans, Poise ads with Whoopi Goldberg portraying women in history with light bladder leakage, and Depend products that look a lot more like regular underwear.

Glamorous? No. But effective.After a generation of decline, Kotex, with help from younger sibling U, have taken more than two share points. Kleenex has begun to reverse years of share losses in the U.S. Depend and Poise have added more than a point to their already commanding market shares.

"I do think we're working a lot closer to the theory [of integrated marketing] than most people have," Mr. Palmer said. But he added: "I'm under no illusion that our competitors aren't getting better too."

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