Kimberly-Clark has joined a long list of marketers that have done tie-ins with the ABC talk show for women. But it may be in for a medal of valor by signing on for a three-week tour of duty as part of its "Room a Day Giveaway" during perhaps the most controversial period ever on the show.
An unconfirmed report in the New York Post last week said Ms. O'Donnell called Ms. Walters "a [expletive] liar" during a fracas in the show's hair and makeup room. That's the latest installment in a long-running sideshow that began when Miss USA Tara Conner was caught drinking underage and pageant owner Donald Trump came to her support. Ms. Walters, caught in a feud between Mr. Trump and Ms. O'Donnell over his reaction to Ms. Conner, has been called a liar by Mr. Trump, whom she called a "sad, pathetic man." Mr. Trump called Ms. O'Donnell a "loser."
But the show looks like a winner to the marketer of Huggies diapers, Kleenex tissue, Cottonelle toilet paper and Kotex feminine products, all of which are part of the promotion and brand integration that runs for three weeks with daily segments on the show starting today.
Laura Keely, director-promotion services for Kimberly-Clark, sees the tie-in as a more exciting and (she hopes) more cost-effective alternative to the multibrand newspaper coupon it's replacing.
"We took the amount of money we spent [last year] on the coupon-based ... event and used that as a high side in terms of what we would spend on an alternate event," she said. "And we do expect to have greater impact with this event and results than with [a free-standing insert]."
Rosie's musical number for K-C
Ms. Keely said she's thrilled that Ms. O'Donnell enthusiastically offered to do a musical production around Kimberly-Clark's brands as part of the deal. Ms. O'Donnell has been "very excited about this promotion and gotten intimately involved with helping us develop our on-air presentation," Ms. Keely said. "We've had input as they developed it. I will tell you it will be very tasteful."
Genevieve Gorder introduced the room-makeover promotion today amid Ms. O'Donnell's production number, which included dancing packages of Cottonelle and Huggies (no Kotex). Fifteen of the 16 winners will be announced on the show Jan. 29 to Feb. 16, with the 16th to be announced on the promotion's web site, RoomADayGiveaway.com.
But Ms. Keely said she's not concerned about the O'Donnell-Trump controversy. "We feel fortunate to be partnering with 'The View' in this effort," she said. "The show gains popularity every day. More and more people are tuning in."
Planned shipments of displays and products to retailers involved with "The View" tie-in "look very promising," she said.
January and February are months when people make resolutions, including about home makeovers, Ms. Keely said. "More than a third of consumers make a New Year's resolution to improve their homes," she said. Based on that research, Kimberly-Clark and Omnicom Group's TracyLocke, Dallas, developed the promotion. Sibling Ketchum is handling public relations.
New global CMO
The deal comes as Kimberly-Clark's first global chief marketing officer, Anthony Palmer, enters his fourth month on the job, and one analyst last week predicted he could help usher in an all-around improvement in the company's marketing effectiveness.
His addition should help develop better marketing metrics, drive better innovation and lead to a stronger push to recruit top marketers, said Banc of America Securities analyst April Scee in a report last week.
"It may be a blessing in disguise that [marketing] spend did not go up ahead of this increased focus," she said, noting that Kimberly-Clark's plans to put restructuring savings into more marketing spending have been put on hold in recent quarters as commodity prices rose.
Now, Kimberly-Clark may be ramping up marketing spending, and has the tools to spend more effectively at a time when its chief rivals appear to be pulling back marketing support, Ms. Scee said. Procter & Gamble Co.'s spending as a percent of sales has been declining in categories where it competes with Kimberly-Clark because the businesses are relatively low priority for P&G, she said. Georgia-Pacific has pulled back even more sharply since its acquisition last year by privately held Koch Industries, she noted, citing data from TNS Marketing Intelligence.