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Tambrands is launching a $60 million globally customized campaign today that breaks longstanding taboos in feminine hygiene advertising.

The new Tampax effort from Foote, Cone & Belding, New York, that will run in 20 global markets speaks its mind.

One commercial, airing on network and cable TV, opens with the provocative title: "Some thoughts on `Should I sleep with it . . . or not?"' It addresses a major concern of on-camera, ethnically diverse tampon users who-in the post-toxic shock syndrome era-alternate tampons with pads.

A print ad, breaking later this spring, asks: "You want me to put that . . . where?" and then responds to common concerns young teens have about first-time tampon use.


Advertising in international markets is similarly bold but tailored to local concerns, said Sheila Hopkins, VP-U.S. marketing.

In a Brazilian ad, for instance, young women are told, "of course you're not going to lose your virginity . . . that will happen, in a much more romantic way," while in China, where pads are still preferred to tampons, a parade of young women in an ad note that Tampax "fits my body . . . Can't feel it at all . . . compared to what I am used to, it's more comfortable."

Nanette Koryn, FCB senior VP-group creative director, said market customization is part of what makes the new campaign-developed using FCB's Mind & Mood consumer focus group method-unusual.

"The messages may be different depending on the market, but the way they are wrapped is the same," she said.

The campaign, using the umbrella theme "Tambrands. Women know," is part of Tambrands' 1997 growth plan, under which it willTampax campaign takes an open approach

also introduce two new products. Those are coming in the third quarter, and have yet to be presented to the company's sales force or retailers.

43.7% SHARE IN '96

In 1996, Tambrands had a 43.7% share of the $2 billion worldwide tampon category and 50% of the $700 million U.S. segment. But net sales dipped 3% to $662.1 million.

Company CEO Ed Fogarty acknowledged in an internal memo dated Feb. 3: "1996 was a difficult year for Tambrands, but one in which we weathered a competitive storm . . . [Rival marketer] Playtex [Family Products Corp.] aggressively used pricing to buy market share early in the year .*.*. While there continues to be extensive competitive activity in the category, particularly with new-product entries and promotional programs, the level of competitive activity has returned to more `normal' levels and conditions are markedly improving."

Still, pressures could mount again as branded tampons come up against a new private-label line from Wal-Mart Stores.

Part of Mr. Fogarty's long-term strategy since joining Tambrands three years ago has been to drive both Tambrands and general tampon growth by stealing sales and share from the larger pads and panty liners segments.

Even in the U.S., where 70% of women use tampons on a regular basis but at night only 25% do, pads and liners dominate with about $1.3 billion in sales.


In countries with undeveloped markets, the sales gap between tampons and other forms of protection is larger still. In some areas, less than 1% of women use tampons.

While Tambrands' worldwide ad spending will rise 20% to $60 million this year, overall promotion-at least in the U.S.-will be slightly down due to the elimination of trade promotion spending, said Janey M. Loyd, VP-business development and communications.

Ms. Loyd said that sampling against the teen market will increase, however, yielding a direct marketing budget hike in that area of as much as 50%.

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