P&G PROMOTES NEW BLACK PANTY LINER WITH CELEB CHARITY AUCTION

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PARIS -- Packaged goods giant Procter & Gamble Co. is supporting an Internet charity auction of celebrity clothing to build buzz around the ongoing pan-European launch of an all-black version of its top feminine hygiene product, Alldays.

The Internet auction of used black clothing donated by Mel C of the Spice Girls, and U.S. actresses Brooke Shields and Meryl Streep, among others, is being organized by P&G in favor of humanitarian organization CARE. The auction site has registered 45,000 visits since its launch March 15, and is averaging 5,000 daily hits as the close of bidding approaches on April 15, according to a P&G spokeswoman in Paris.

While all proceeds from the sale go to the charity, P&G hopes goodwill from the project will rub off on its new Alldays Black, now hitting store shelves in France, Germany and the U.K.

P&G is targeting the colored panty liner at young, fashion-conscious women who are supposedly opposed to wearing traditional white panty liners with colored lingerie.

French advertising for Alldays Black is being handled by Bcom3 Group's D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Paris, and will focus on national broadcast of a TV spot already running in the U.K.

P&G hopes that the Alldays Black launch will solidify its leading position in the $350 million panty liner sector of the French feminine hygiene market. The company held a 38% share at year-end but was facing stiff competition from rivals including Johnson & Johnson and Kimberly-Clark Corp., as well as generic brands produced by large retailers. -- Lawrence J. Speer

Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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