Playtex tampons

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In the feminine protection business, every player but one has an entry in both sanitary pads and tampons.

That's left Playtex Products the freedom of aggressively marketing tampons as an alternative to pads, a stance that Chris Kurjanowicz, VP-marketing for Playtex Feminine Products, believes has helped Playtex beat bigger foes.

Playtex sales were up 11.3% to $221 million in the 52 weeks ended March 28, according to Information Resources Inc., well ahead of the category growth rate of 2.2% or the sanitary napkins/liners growth rate of 4%.

Behind the brand are ads from Grey Advertising, New York, aimed at convincing younger teens to make the switch to tampons early.

"A big aid to the franchise growth has been introduction of the all-natural odor-absorbing tampons," says Ms. Kurjanowicz, 46, who came to Playtex two years ago after 14 years at Reckitt & Colman and an earlier stint with Pfizer.

"We provide the benefit, as seen in the ads, of all the protection you want and nothing more. It's all-natural and fragrance-free."

Ms. Kurjanowicz came to Playtex as the brand faced the prospect of new competition from Procter & Gamble Co., which acquired the Tampax brand in 1997. Playtex has consistently gained ground on the segment leader under her watch.

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