WEAREVER SETS CAMPAIGN FOR REUSABLE ADULT BRIEFS: AD SPENDING MAY REACH $9 MIL

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WearEver Health Care Products is preparing a TV and print campaign to back the national retail rollout of its reusable incontinence briefs.

Ad spending is expected to reach as high as $9 million this year and build to as much as $15 million in 1998. WearEver late last month appointed Howard, Merrell & Partners, Raleigh, N.C., as agency of record for a campaign breaking in the fall.

First launched through mail order in late 1995, WearEver washable briefs for adults and children now have retail distribution east of the Mississippi and should be national by next year, the company said.

PATENTED TECHNOLOGY

WearEver briefs are lined with a patented superabsorbent fabric called Hydrex, which holds fluid but remains dry to the touch.

The product primarily targets the $1.7 billion adult incontinence market. But new ads also will position the children's briefs, which previously were sold mainly for disabled children through mail order, as an alternative to disposable training pants for all kids, said WearEver President Joe Ravella. That will plunge the company into the $400 million training pants segment.

Plans also call for positioning the briefs as a supplemental feminine hygiene product.

Priced at $9.95 to $10.95 per unit, WearEver briefs cost about 5 cents per use, vs. 60 cents for disposable products, Mr. Ravella said.

Prospects look good for incontinence products as baby boomers age. Some projections call for adult incontinence products to exceed the baby diaper business in eight to 10 years, Mr. Ravella said.

"You're talking about a $4.5 billion business," he said, "and we strongly believe we can achieve at least 10% of that market."

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