Leveraging Laughs And Leaks
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Leveraging Laughs And Leaks

One in three women has urinary incontinence, a condition so stigmatized they’re ashamed to talk about it with their doctors or even their closest friends, much less seek treatment.

Holmes Report

One in three women has urinary incontinence, a condition so stigmatized they’re ashamed to talk about it with their doctors or even their closest friends, much less seek treatment. Through a series of focus groups, MMC and Poise discovered two important insights: 1) Women are horrified by the term “incontinence,” but are open to owning up to a problem of “light bladder leakage (LBL)” and 2) Once women realize how many others have this condition, they are more open to talk about it – especially in a humorous context.

These insights powered a partnership with comedian/actress Whoopi Goldberg to use humor and redefine incontinence as LBL – or in Whoopi’s words, “a spritz.” The campaign broke through and normalized the condition via webisodes, a television integration and “Ladies Who Laugh” Poise® parties with House PartyTM. Those activities and our “leaks” to media resulted in more than 250 million impressions and catapulted Poise® to achieve its highest ever U.S. share, as well as a record number of sample requests – a fourfold increase v. pre-campaign standards.

Being overweight or obese, having a child or hysterectomy can weaken women’s pelvic muscles. These women can leak involuntarily when they laugh, cough, sneeze or exercise. Women often use feminine care pads for protection because they’re not aware of more effective options, like Poise® -- pads and liners made specifically for leaks.

Despite the fact that incontinence affects 1 in 3 women, our major communications barrier was that incontinence is a taboo subject for both women and media. They closely associate the topic with aging and frailty.

Through focus groups, MMC and Poise® discovered how to break down barriers. By helping women realize how many others have the condition, they are more likely to talk about it – especially if positioned in more accessible terms (like LBL) and with humor.

Kimberly-Clark charged MMC with recasting incontinence as LBL and encouraging women to address the problem and seek solutions like Poise, without shame or embarrassment. In addition, the Poise® brand had to be redefined from a dated, grandmotherly product to a normal solution for a common problem that affects women of all ages.

Working with the Women’s Health Foundation (WHF), a non-profit organization committed to championing women’s pelvic health issues, MMC and Poise® commissioned a survey of 1,000 women.
The survey found that 60 percent of women do not talk about LBL with friends or family; almost 40 percent do not even talk to a healthcare professional. Further, 70 percent of women with LBL are surprised to learn that it affects so many other women.

Strategic Approach
MMC leveraged women’s openness to humor and “real talk” to spark a nationwide, pop culture-driven conversation about LBL, without shame or embarrassment. We engaged women in safe, fun environments where they could connect with others by understanding how common LBL is.

To bring the conversation mainstream, Poise® demonstrated to women with LBL that they are not alone via a multi-pronged educational campaign:
• Normalizing the condition: MMC and Poise® partnered with Whoopi Goldberg. She created and starred in an online video series featuring eight “Great Women in History” who might have had LBL – Mona Lisa, the Statue of Liberty and Joan of Arc were just a few of the lives re-imagined with this condition. The videos were hosted on the Yahoo! Shine community portal, www.1in3likeme.com. These webisodes were the cornerstone of the media campaign.
• MMC and Whoopi unveiled the webisodes at an event for women and media with WHF on site to answer health-related questions. Consumer interaction was encouraged by providing access to www.1in3likeme.com and stations where women could be photographed in Whoopi’s costumes.
• We coordinated a six-minute integration on The View, where Whoopi unveiled her webisodes, held up a Poise® pad and delivered key messages about LBL impacting 1 in 3 women.
• MMC recommended Poise® capitalize on the webisode momentum by repurposing them during the Academy Awards® as a commercial. Known as the “Super Bowl for women”, the Oscars® annually attract more women viewers than any other television event. The feminine care category had never been approved to advertise during the Oscars®, but MMC believed the Whoopi creative would win the Academy over – and it did. MMC conducted its third wave of media outreach around the webisode-edited commercial.
• MMC created Poise® sponsored House Party™ events to educate and engage women in comfortable conversations about LBL. House Party™ conducted 1,000 “Ladies Who Laugh” Poise® entertainment and laughter focused events. Women bonded over a contest to make their own videos about LBL and “spritzing.”

The unspeakable topic became mainstream conversation, resulting in the brand achieving its highest ever U.S. share, and a record number of sample requests – fourfold increase after the campaign launch. Other results included:
• Nearly 600,000 unique website visits in first month
• More than 250 million media impressions in major print, online and broadcast outlets, including: Time.com, People.com, Perez Hilton, More.com, LHJ.com and a campaign spoof on Saturday Night Live, stemming from the Oscars® ad that delivered all brand messages
• Nearly 150 blog posts
• Overwhelmingly positive response from target consumers, thankful for de-stigmatizing the condition and finding solutions
o Message boards on The View’s web site were flooded
o Influx of thankful calls to the Kimberly-Clark consumer hotline
• With only 1,000 hostess slots to be filled, the “Ladies Who Laugh” House Party™ generated over 10,000 applicants, setting a new record
o Nearly 12,000 women participated in Poise branded parties
o 11.5 percent submitted their own LBL videos – without shame
o Purchase intent of Poise® lifted 23 points

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