Kotex shakes off blue, too, with new packaging--red

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Kimberly-Clark Corp. is adding splashes of red the last place marketers have dared-the feminine-hygiene aisle-and is taking the unusual step of making new packaging the star of an ad campaign that breaks May 23.

Kotex first broke industry convention five years ago with its "Red Dot" campaign from WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, Chicago, (sibling MindShare, New York, handles planning and buying) that departs from blue-fluid-demo norms with franker treatments. But the brand stayed inside the lines at retail, where blues and other muted doctor's-office shades dominate.

Updated packaging by Coley Porter Bell, London, uses vivid red flowers on white backgrounds. TV, print and online claim: "Beautiful Flowers Outside. Same Great Protection Inside."

"There's an incredible honesty to putting red in the category in a sea of blue," said Chris Schipke, group creative director on the account at Ogilvy.

"We're repositioning the brand to appeal to a younger target audience and demonstrate our understanding of it from both emotional and physical perspectives," he said.

Following teaser ads this month on TV and in June magazines, the campaign runs July through year end. Spending wasn't disclosed, but Kotex was supported with $30 million last year in media, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Kotex needs to shake things up. Its pads share dropped 1.9 points in 2004 and another 1.6 in the first quarter to 24.6%, according to Information Resources Inc. figures reported by Deutsche Bank.

Procter & Gamble Co.'s Always, launched in 1985, took share leadership 10 years later and keeps gaining. Kotex's consumer base is aging in a category where that means steady share erosion.

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