Adult underwear no longer being given the silent treatment

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dlt88

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Was in the paper this morning....thought it was kinda interesting. Seems like Depend has a pretty good handle on exactly what their "market" is looking for.

Adult underwear no longer being given the silent treatment | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Dallas Business News

Adult underwear no longer being given the silent treatment
11:38 AM CDT on Saturday, May 23, 2009
By BOB MOOS / The Dallas Morning News
[email protected]

As many as 25 million Americans suffer from it, but most are too embarrassed even to mention its name.Incontinence.

Preparing for the needs of millions of aging baby boomers, Kimberly-Clark Corp. of Irving has redesigned its Depend line of adult underwear for more comfort and protection and launched a comprehensive marketing campaign to break down the stigma.

"There's a great opportunity here," said Mark Cammarota, Depend's brand director. "Boomers are demanding products that will let them lead normal lives as they age, and they're more open than previous generations about discussing their needs."

Since practically the day they appeared on store shelves in 1984 and replaced a hodgepodge of impractical and ineffective homemade creations, Depends have been both a subject of awkward humor and a lifesaver for those who use them.

Sometimes derisively called "adult diapers," absorbent underwear is big money. Urinary incontinence now represents a $1.2 billion-a-year retail business in North America, and Kimberly-Clark's products account for about 55 percent of that market.

With its latest generation of Depends, the company has replaced its unisex underwear with male and female designs tailored for each gender's anatomy. The new versions fit each gender more snugly and provide better protection where most needed.

"Besides the practical improvements, we've also tried to address our customers' emotional concerns," Cammarota said. "Some women didn't think our unisex Depends were feminine enough, and many men didn't think they were masculine enough."

There's now a pink waistband for women and a blue one for men.

"I'm amazed at how long it's taken the industry to recognize that men and women are different, but I applaud Kimberly-Clark for taking the lead," said Nancy Muller, executive director of the National Association for Continence, an advocacy group.

Shortly after Kimberly-Clark's announcement, a major competitor, SCA Personal Care, said it, too, would begin selling gender-specific underwear in North America. Once known as Serenity, SCA's products now carry the Tena brand name.
Multiple causes

Incontinence isn't a normal part of aging, though the risk of it rises as someone gets older, Muller said. The loss of bladder or bowel control may be a symptom of some other condition, such as Parkinson's disease, a stroke or urinary tract infections.

Incontinence may also be a result of pregnancy or childbirth, which partially explains why as many as 80 percent of those suffering from incontinence are women, according to the association for continence.

For men, incontinence sometimes occurs after surgery for prostate cancer.

As embarrassing as the condition may be, its consequences can be nothing short of terrifying for seniors who had planned to grow old at home.

Molly Shomer, a Dallas social worker who helps families arrange for the care of frail individuals, says incontinence is often the reason an elderly parent must pack up and move into an assisted-living community or skilled nursing facility.

"Almost more than anything else, it's the one thing that causes older adults to lose their independence," she said.

Treatments for incontinence range from pelvic muscle exercises to medications to surgery, Muller said. But wearing protective undergarments, like Depends, often becomes part of the daily regimen for people trying to control it.

Muller hopes the marketing campaigns for the new, gender-specific underwear will increase the public's understanding of incontinence and encourage sufferers to talk more openly about the practical problems they face.

Kimberly-Clark executives say they appreciate how difficult a frank conversation can be.

"We know that shopping for Depends can be stressful," said Greg Fries, senior brand manager. "People don't want to be seen in the aisle with the incontinence products. Some customers will even go outside their neighborhood to avoid running into a friend."

So, besides redesigning its product, Kimberly-Clark has simplified the packaging to make it easier for shoppers to spot the gender and size they need. That way, Fries said, customers can quickly toss their Depends in the shopping cart and be gone.
New ad campaign

To introduce this next generation of protective underwear, the company is also rolling out an advertising campaign that's a far cry from the long-running commercials that featured movie actress June Allyson talking about the practical benefits of wearing Depends.

The new TV commercials have ordinary boomer men and women engaged in some unscripted banter about the differences between the two sexes, such as whether men or women make better drivers and which sex actually rules the world.

"We wanted to show real people in our TV spots and remind customers that incontinence doesn't need to slow them down," Fries said. "They don't have to feel embarrassed. They don't have to hide. There are others out there in the world just like them."

The commercials were directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris and bear a striking resemblance to a short film he created for a recent Oscars telecast in which people talk off the cuff about why they like movies.

Chuck Nyren, a Seattle advertising consultant and author of Advertising to Baby Boomers, says the TV spots are carefully crafted to appeal to boomers who, if they don't use Depends themselves, may be caregivers for parents who do.

"Morris got the right people and took the right approach," he said. "Now, if only other advertisers would hire boomers to pitch refrigerators, soap and other products."

Complementing the TV commercial's broad-brush approach, Kimberly-Clark has overhauled its Depend Web site (Incontinence Products, Supplies & Support: DEPEND® Products) to give consumers detailed information about incontinence and the company's products.

The Web site's discussion groups have proved especially popular, Fries said.

"Consumers like to go online and talk with others with the same condition," he said. "The Internet is the perfect medium for that conversation, since it offers anonymity. People can get both answers and emotional support."

Kimberly-Clark sees tremendous potential for growth in the incontinence business, not just because there are 78 million aging boomers but also because they'll have more wealth than previous generations of older adults.

"Our pitch to consumers is that they don't have to give up on life – they can do the things they want," Cammarota said. "That message will resonate with anyone who wants to stay engaged."
 

ExtraFluff

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It's interesting that Depend is taking such a proactive approach to their product design and marketing. Having tried one pair of protective underwear (which are not "diapers") as a free sample, I can say that different zones for the male and female anatomy were definitely needed. Has Depend changed the design of their full diaper (now called "Fitted Maximum Protection") in any way?
 

Darkfinn

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I haven't heard of any changes to the full "adult diapers" but I think many of the major brands (read Depend and Tena) are trying to improve their pullups and offer them as high quality "just in case" protection for older individuals.

I still think there is too much of a negative stigma to being "back in diapers" for there to be much gaining ground yet.

To most in the medical community, full diapers are seen as the final solution when everything else has failed, where as the pullups do still offer the wearer the chance to use a toilet if they make it in time.
 

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Has Depend changed the design of their full diaper (now called "Fitted Maximum Protection") in any way?

They're just harder to find now with the advent of the new product line. I don't like the Fitted Maximum Protection well enough to order them; they're essentially an impulse buy for light wear. I don't think they got pulled, just sort of backburnered as a result of the push for the new thing.
 

g6s

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They're just harder to find now with the advent of the new product line. I don't like the Fitted Maximum Protection well enough to order them; they're essentially an impulse buy for light wear. I don't think they got pulled, just sort of backburnered as a result of the push for the new thing.

Aye, I called them and asked them if they had disappeared. They're still around, but nation-wide Walgreens quit carrying them.
 

Honeywell6180

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Kimberly Clark and their marketing of a junk product that's almost totally useless. I'm not buying. Oh by the way: The stigma remains to this day, and now they they have to open up their big, fat, ugly, stupid mouth with a totally degrading, condescending, idiotic and humiliating commercial. it's only going to get WORSE!!!

Honeywell6180
 

Trevor

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Kimberly Clark and their marketing of a junk product that's almost totally useless. I'm not buying. Oh by the way: The stigma remains to this day, and now they they have to open up their big, fat, ugly, stupid mouth with a totally degrading, condescending, idiotic and humiliating commercial. it's only going to get WORSE!!!

Honeywell6180

So we'll mark that down as one against...
 

bob111

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If they want people to quit being shy of buying their product, they might try to make a package that don't scream adult diaper.

Like making the brand name less apparent. Everyone know what Depends are. Those that need them where to find them and what they look like, so no need to make them flash in the cart!
 
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If they want people to quit being shy of buying their product, they might try to make a package that don't scream adult diaper.

Like making the brand name less apparent. Everyone know what Depends are. Those that need them where to find them and what they look like, so no need to make them flash in the cart!

apparently not, since they've even come out with cards you can print out so you know exactly what to look for in the store. im glad they market these things for retards :wallbash:
 

Trevor

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If they want people to quit being shy of buying their product, they might try to make a package that don't scream adult diaper.

Like making the brand name less apparent. Everyone know what Depends are. Those that need them where to find them and what they look like, so no need to make them flash in the cart!

Somehow I don't see any marketing team out there taking steps to reduce brand visibility. People don't magically know about products, they have to be made apparent to consumers. If someone like me, with a deep-seated childhood feeling of dread about people knowing can buy diapers, I think anyone can. I just don't think it's that big a deal for most people. Like buying tampons or condoms or the like. No one wants to do it, but it's necessary.

With regard to the article, I do find it amusing that one of the primary methods they use to visually differentiate their products for men and women is the same approach they'd use with children (blue for boys and pink for girls). Really adult thinking there, guys :thumbsup:
 

Honeywell6180

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If they want people to quit being shy of buying their product, they might try to make a package that don't scream adult diaper.

Like making the brand name less apparent. Everyone know what Depends are. Those that need them where to find them and what they look like, so no need to make them flash in the cart!

I have an even better idea. How about just making Goodnites in a larger size so it's NOT SO OBVIOUS who the purchaser is really intending them for! It's no wonder why Proctor & Gamble outsells KC by leaps and bounds to the adult market.

Honeywell6180
 

bobbyjeff

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Aye, I called them and asked them if they had disappeared. They're still around, but nation-wide Walgreens quit carrying them.

With every downside there is an up. I recently found a local Walgreens clearing theirs out for the ludicrously low price of $2.50 a bag. I know they are still not that great, but for the price it was worth snagging a few bags for back stock.
 

CVS91

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This is very interesting indeed. Considering I really only have access to Depends and Goodnites, I'm curious to try these new ones out.

The gender specific-ness would be similar to what Goodnites did with theirs.

Thanks for this dlt88.
 

db70db70

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That article was obviously a press release from depends that the newspaper just reprinted.

"derisively" called "adult diapers" and not "absorbant underwear", those marketing people sure are trying aren't they?
 

Boyhood

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Whoever checks these new Depends out, put some pics up in the Gallery so I can see what they look like. Normally I would be done with Depends for good, but I always seem to be curious when an update is done.
 

babyboy

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Sometimes derisively called "adult diapers,"
The problem with the stigma staying around incontinence products is the line above. We see the term diaper (in other parts of the world nappie) as a bad thing when connected to any one over the normal age of toilet training, and still ingrained into us as "diapers are for babies." Yes these disposable underwear are not diapers in the fullest sense, but still as long as we mock the word diaper when it comes to adults then even these underwear will still continue to have the same stigma that a diaper has. What they need to do is un-stigmatise the word diaper and the use of diapers for adults. Not until diapers for adults are un-stigmatised will any (and all) incontinence products be stuck with the same stigma.

So that one line in that article kinds of defeats the whole article, as it mocks diapers for adults, and discredits the rest via the connection of diapers to all other incontinence products.
 

Boyhood

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The problem with the stigma staying around incontinence products is the line above. We see the term diaper (in other parts of the world nappie) as a bad thing when connected to any one over the normal age of toilet training, and still ingrained into us as "diapers are for babies." Yes these disposable underwear are not diapers in the fullest sense, but still as long as we mock the word diaper when it comes to adults then even these underwear will still continue to have the same stigma that a diaper has. What they need to do is un-stigmatise the word diaper and the use of diapers for adults. Not until diapers for adults are un-stigmatised will any (and all) incontinence products be stuck with the same stigma.

So that one line in that article kinds of defeats the whole article, as it mocks diapers for adults, and discredits the rest via the connection of diapers to all other incontinence products.

As far as I know, most people do describe this underwear as "adult diapers"
Therefore, the word has been popularized enough to be able to put the two together.
 

bob111

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Being an overly logical guy, wearing absorbant underwear or diapers, I feel the same. I hate politically correct therms.

A whore is a whore, a diaper is a diaper.
 
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