Menopausal money spinner Feminine hygiene brand launches new range of products for 'hot flashes' – but doctors say line is completely pointless
22:07 GMT, 9 July 2012
Most mothers have 'the talk' with their daughters about their periods. Now the Poise feminine hygiene brand is initiating a 'second talk' with women – this time, about menopause.
Targeting 50million American women who are going through, or will soon go through, menopause, Poise will roll out its new line of products at the end of July.
It's a move to expand the brand beyond its line of
pads for 'incontinence', but some doctors say many of the
products Kimberly-Clark, which owns Poise, is rolling out are not
particularly useful to women going through menopause.
Hot flash: Poise is a new line of feminine hygiene products including cooling gel and towelettes for women going through the menopause
The line includes lubricant for vaginal dryness, panty freshener stickers and feminine wash for odor and cooling towelettes and roll-on gel for women having hot flashes.
Feminine washes are usually not recommended by many doctors, says Dr. Lauren F. Streicher, a gynecologist and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
And products that mask vaginal odor could cause people to not treat what is causing that symptom in the first place, she added.
'The idea of covering it up with a freshener is an inappropriate approach,' Dr Streicher said. 'I'm thrilled people are paying attention, but I don't want to see people taken advantage of.'
This isn't the first time Kimberly-Clark, a Dallas-based company that also makes Kleenex tissue and Huggies diapers, has attempted to shake up feminine care.
Expanding the brand: Poise is growing beyond its line of pads for 'incontinence', but some doctors say many of the products are not particularly useful to women going through menopause
In 2010, the company launched U by Kotex, a line of brightly packaged tampons and pads, with tongue-and-cheek TV ads made fun of feminine care ad stereotypes such as a woman running on the beach and asked 'Why are tampon ads so ridiculous'
The line was a hit and named one of SymphonyIRI's 2011 New Product Pacesetters.
For the Poise brand, the company created the term 'light bladder leakage,' or LBL, in 2009 to avoid the stigma associated with the word 'incontinence.'
The company also hired actress
Kirstie Alley to spread the word that one in every three women had
experienced 'light bladder leakage' symptoms.
Now the company wants to build on that by expanding the Poise brand, which was first launched in 1992.
of Poise products have grown steadily over the past five years, with
sales up 56per cent to $475.7 million in 2011, according to Euromonitor
Making a new product line wasn't easy, though.
in 2009, about 30 people at Kimberly-Clark, two-thirds of them women
themselves, began to research what types they could offer new products
under the Poise brand, aimed at women 40-plus.
interviewed 8,000 women in the U.S. and 3,000 people outside the U.S.
during the process, asking questions about their needs and testing
products and advertising concepts.
'There's the big talk about the period. But there's no talk about menopause'
They found that women faced three main symptoms of menopause – vaginal dryness, odor and hot flashes.
But the company had to figure out how to appeal to women about a subject that's not discussed often.
The company rolled out the product in Chile in 2009. In the country, which is a more conservative than the U.S., Kimberly-Clark marketed the product with the made-up word 'maduritude,' a combination of the Spanish words for mature and woman.
In the U.S., however, the company decided to be more frank about menopause.
Kimberly-Clark created a TV, print and online marketing campaign that focuses on 'The Second Talk.' In TV and print ads, which begin running on July 30, women describe the symptoms of menopause and the need to discuss it.
'There's the big talk about the period. There's no talk about menopause,' said one woman in a TV ad. Copy from a print ad reads: 'It's like someone put a hot frying pan on my face,' in reference to hot flashes.
The ad directs people to 'see real women's stories at the2ndtalk.com,' which will hold online forums on the subject.
Kimberly-Clark says that the campaign and the products – the company is waiting for Food and Drug Administration for the vaginal lubricant – are an attempt to open up a dialogue about menopause. That's something the company says women long for.
'There's not a lot of conversation happening about menopause,' said Jay Gottleib, vice president of Kimberly-Clark's North American adult & feminine care business.
'Women very much want to have conversations but don't have the forums.'