The company's president and chief operating officer, Thomas Falk, told analysts in a conference call that Kimberly-Clark increased marketing spending on its Huggies diaper and Pull-Ups training pants brands in the U.S. and Europe to counter rival Procter & Gamble Co.'s launch of its Baby Stages of Development line.
Mr. Falk said the increased marketing spending, which accounted for the bulk of the $50 million boost, was divided fairly evenly between increased advertising and coupon and other promotion expenses to support Huggies and Pull-Ups. P&G's line includes premium-price Pampers diapers and its new Easy-Ups training pants.
WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, handles Kimberly-Clark's accounts.
Mr. Falk said he expects marketing spending to stay heavy through the year as Kimberly-Clark supports its own product launches in the U.S., including an improved version of Pull-Ups and a yet-to-be-announced infant-care product.
He dismissed the threat of the Pampers rollout, noting Kimberly-Clark has weathered similar training pants launches by P&G in the past that proved unsuccessful.