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Poise Expands its Category as Well as Its Own Sales

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Poise had a dominant share in its category, but many women avoided it. Light bladder leakage wasn't a problem women wanted to talk about. Many didn't even want to admit they had it, as they feared it was a sign of old age and more serious incontinence to come.

Rebecca Dunphey
Rebecca Dunphey

"When we would have focus groups, women would talk about having LBL, and as soon as one woman started talking about it, it was like a light went on," said Rebecca Dunphey, Poise brand director. "There was this big moment when they realized they were not the only one."

Many, out of fear or lack of information, used sanitary pads or liners instead of specialty products like Poise. Ms. Dunphey's team came up with an approach to help build the category, not just the brand. Their campaign pointed out the significant number of women with the problem, using the tagline "One in three like me."

To get the word out with a relatively small budget, Poise turned to Mindshare Entertainment and Whoopi Goldberg, who humorously portrayed women dealing with LBL throughout history, first in webisodes, then in TV ads.

The effort has helped Poise increase its share almost 2 points in two years, with the category expanding as well, according to Kimberly-Clark's Nielsen data. And though Poise launched an hourglass-design upgrade this year, advertising is significantly responsible for the boost, according to Ms. Dunphey.

"As we've been talking about normalizing the condition and reframing it so it's not about incontinence, we've seen a big growth in the category."

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