Leading marketing efforts behind Pearl since January 2003 has been Lela Coffey, 34, first as brand manager, then as recently promoted associate marketing director.
Pearl, launched in late 2002, was P&G's late entry into the plastic-applicator segment, dominated by rival Playtex Products. Rather than just follow, P&G did a complete design overhaul, combining a pearl-like plastic applicator, decorative wrappers and a bold package with a window to display the product.
Pearl was an instant hit. But a New York federal district court jury sided with Playtex in a suit that said the original ad campaign by Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, falsely claimed product superiority. Revised ads developed under Ms. Coffey took an offbeat and sometimes daring tack. One showed a woman on a date using a tampon to plug a leaky rowboat.
"It brings a little humor into the category," she says, "...while also communicating the product performance message."