Youth Report: Kotex adds forum to its Real Talk platform

As an extension of its "Generation Know" campaign, U by Kotex provides a place where young women can ask important questions.

U by Kotex wants girls to meet the moms, peers and health experts that make up its “Generation Know” myth-busters. Not to be confused with the Discovery Channel team that uses scientific methods to filter facts, these women draw upon personal experiences to reveal the falsehoods surrounding vaginal health.

Launched earlier this year, the Generation Know website is a safe haven for young girls to ask questions related to their bodies (for instance, “Can I swim when I’m on my period?”) and have answers posted by a team of ambassadors. There are also projects for teens and young adults to get involved in, such as “Change the message” where older girls can post tips or a positive message about womanhood to pass on to the next generation.

“This is really about springboarding from the ‘Break the Cycle’ campaign we had [in 2010],” says Lauren Kren, brand manager, U by Kotex. Before parent company Kimberly-Clark introduced its first youth-targeted tampon and pad products, Kren says the brand conducted research that found girls were tired of feminine-care brands not speaking frankly with them about their periods and that they desired a better understanding of their bodies.

This opened the door for U by Kotex to “reshape the conversation” when it launched nearly three years ago, creating a television spot that essentially threw out decades of ads that tend to sugar-coat menstruation and instead show the actual (sometimes icky) truths. The campaign to get people talking about vaginal health resulted in 6,774 Declaration of Real Talk signatures, close to 900 Real Answer questions submitted on its website and another 700,000 visits to the site within the first month of its launch. Kren says this year’s evolution of the program will include a community-driven online portal provides “a safe environment for girls to engage with and get involved.”

In addition to the online component (handled by U.S. agency Organic) and TV advertising (created by New York-based Ogilvy & Mather and planned by Mindshare Canada), the brand is also reinforcing its message through retail activations.

U by Kotex products are packaged in limited edition Generation Know creative, and include pledge bracelets, which girls can wear to show their commitment to learning.

A partnership with Walmart, co-ordinated by OgilvyAction, provides retail support through an e-blast as well as an online editorial feature on the retailer’s website. The brand and retailer have also taken the program to print, creating a four-page Generation Know “exam guide” insert in Vervegirl magazine that provides study tips and debunks health myths to help them become a “generation proud to be in the know.”

“Research has also shown that somewhere between the 14- and 22-year age range, girls are experimenting with products, and at some point, she becomes loyal to a brand,” Kren says, adding that its honest approach puts the brand at the centre of the consideration process.

Many girls are curious about their bodies and need a safe place to turn to with their questions. The anonymity of the internet makes this a good, safe option for them. It is absolutely relevant – as a female, I deal with the same issues as everyone else, and it’s nice to see that there [is a brand] listening to our problems.
– Helen, 18

I think if I was younger, this website would definitely be relevant to my life. I would have loved this welcoming and informative source when I was new to getting my monthly visitor.
– Phuong (Desiree), 22