BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- Given the recession, it would seem Kimberly-Clark Corp. might tempted to put the money it diverted from couponing to a big branded-entertainment promotion two years ago back into coupons.
Instead, K-C is making the third year of its Room-a-Day Giveaway integration with ABC's "The View" bigger than ever, partly because it's worked beyond the company's wildest dreams the past two years, but also because it's getting a lot harder to reach younger moms with conventional couponing.
Sharpening its focus on millennial moms this year, K-C is sticking with the promotion's extensive five-week integration on the daytime talk show but adding a bigger dose of social and digital media to the mix. It's also shifting advertising behind the program from Parade and Sunday newspapers to People and Us Weekly.
K-C has added Thom Filicia, host of the Style Network's "Dress My Nest," as the spokesman for the campaign and a blogger on the campaign's website, roomadaygiveaway.com. Mr. Filicia has made over the guest dressing rooms for "The View," as shown on the Jan. 12 show. Winners of 15 room-makeover prizes of $25,000 will be announced on the show Feb. 2-15, and a 16th winner will be announced on the website on or around March 13.
The promotion has exceeded K-C's expectations in the past two years, crashing the company's server on day one and generating 10 million entries in its second year, double the number in year one. In both years the company has seen what Dawn Bates, consumer-promotion marketing manager, described as single-digit bumps in sales for the participating brands -- which span essentially the entire consumer-brand portfolio -- at a lower cost than the multibrand coupon-insert buy the promotion replaced and without dealing down on price.
"We've been seeing two times the incremental profit while spending less [than the former coupon promotion]," Ms. Bates said.
K-C is looking to expand the program's impact again by adding more social media to the mix. That includes more social networking, a Twitter handle and marketing through the microblogging service, as well as enlisting support from design and mommy bloggers, in part by inviting them to an online press conference with Mr. Filicia.
The company is also looking to bring more consumers to the website more often by adding a game with 100 daily winners.
Revamped media mix
The revamped media mix reflects an increased focus on millennial moms, but sticking with "The View" makes sense not only because ABC Entertainment has done well at supporting past years' efforts but also because the show's ratings among women 18 to 24 are at an all-time high, Ms. Bates said.
One course change K-C is making linked to the recession is a "slightly different slant on the messaging, focusing more on family time at home," Ms. Bates said. "There's a growing trend today for families to spend more quality time at home vs. going out."
But falling back on the package-goods industry's failsafe of couponing in tough times makes less sense, she said, particularly given the focus on younger moms.
"We're seeing decreasing trends in newspaper readership among millennial moms," Ms. Bates said. "What we see with the millennial mom is that she's very community-focused, and she's online and engaging, really, in a new definition of community -- maybe people she doesn't know personally but has common interests with."
Not that Kimberly-Clark has entirely given up couponing for Millennial moms. They are responding in increasing numbers to direct mail through the Huggies and Pull-Ups brands, with which the company has piggybacked other brands such as Kotex and Cottonelle.
The company also has seen strong results from its partnership with Cellfire, which distributes coupons via mobile phones in a network that Kroger Co. recently announced plans to expand nationally, said Laura Keely, consumer-promotion marketing manager. "The group that's engaged with these mobile-phone coupons is most definitely a younger audience," she said.