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U by Kotex believes normalizing periods will help it reach millennials, Gen Z

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Period care brands have been modernizing menstruation marketing in recent years, talking frankly about vaginas and moving away from infantilizing euphemisms. That’s something U by Kotex is looking to continue with recent streaming ads, digital spots, banner ads, shopper marketing and influencer partnerships focused on “Normalizing Periods.” 

“This program was designed to hit the target of millennial and Gen Z consumers,” said Mindy Langelin, senior brand manager for U by Kotex. “We need to be where they are and as you can imagine they have a really strong digital presence. We’ve prioritized a lot within connected TV. You’ll see placements like YouTube, Hulu, Disney+ as well as banner ads.” 

The Kimberly-Clark brand believes its ads featuring medically correct terminology — i.e. vagina, vulva, labia majora — will help it to de-stigmatize talking about periods as well as woo its target demographic of consumers. Aside from streaming and banner ads, the brand is prioritizing social media and influencer marketing efforts. 

“There’s a very robust conversation happening [on social] already around periods so we feel the opportunity to show strong leadership on platforms like TikTok, Snapchat and Pinterest by bringing our message around normalizing periods there,” said Langelin. 

It’s unclear how much U by Kotex is spending on this effort or how the brand is dividing its ad spending as Langelin declined to share specifics. Throughout 2022, U by Kotex spent $3.2 million on media, down from $11.6 million in 2021, per Vivvix, including paid social data from Pathmatics. 

The brand is working with influencers in particular to make sure that its latest innovations — pads inspired by the curved shape of the vulva as well as using plant-based charcoal as an odor neutralizer — are made clear to younger consumers. “We want to make sure our whole target demographic is aware,” said Langelin. 

Prioritizing digital with a message focused on normalizing periods is a logical approach when targeting millennials and Gen Z, according to Marisa Mulvihill, head of brand and activation at brand consultancy Prophet. “Taking an opportunity to get really clear on the message and what they stand for can help them build a stronger brand,” said Mulvilhill, adding that period care has become a more competitive market with more brands speaking frankly about period care.

Mulvilhill continued: “Focusing on normalizing and destigmatizing periods is very on trend. They’re targeting a younger audience; Gen Z is all about body positivity, inclusivity, authenticity. That feels really on trend and right for this generation. Aligning the brand with a real clear, social program and purpose is exactly the right thing to do.” 

Despite recent efforts to modernize menstruation marketing, U by Kotex believes that there are still too many stigmas associated with period care today. 

“The stigmas are still so prevalent all around us,” said Langelin. “There’s not open discussions. We assign nicknames for periods. It’s about ending the silence and embarrassment that society has placed on periods.”

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