P&G takes innovative approach in Singapore

16 October 2009

SINGAPORE: Procter & Gamble, the consumer goods giant, is using an innovative interactive strategy to promote Whisper, its feminine hygiene brand, to young female consumers in Singapore.

As previously reported, the US firm has substantially increased its digital output in recent times, such as through creating online communities like BeingGirl for teenage girls in the US.

Euromonitor International, the research firm, estimates that Whisper holds 22% of its market in Singapore, just 1% behind Kimberley-Clark'sKotex, the top-ranked brand in the $32.2 million (€21.6m; £19.8m) sector.

P&G's new campaign for Whisper, called "Happy It's Here", aims to overcome certain sensitivities regarding discussing feminine hygiene among consumers in the country.

A survey of 500 women undertaken by the company in the Asian nation revealed that respondents' worries relating to having their period varied from needing to drink more to having bad eyesight.

By contrast, only 5% of the panel that took part in the poll said they felt positive at the beginning of their menstrual cycle each month.

Sujay Wasan, associate marketing director for Procter & Gamble's feminine care operations in Asia, said "we see our role as being over and beyond just selling the products."

"Periods are not a necessary evil, or a curse, or a problem to be solved. It's an absolutely natural part of being a woman, and it needs to be appreciated and celebrated," he added.

In an effort to achieve this goal, the consumer goods titan developed a website dedicated to this very subject.

Web users can post real-time comments to this platform, with current examples including "I love my life, and I'm proud to be me" and "I have a reason to pamper myself with chocs!"

The portal also includes a calendar that visitors can use to keep track of their menstrual cycle, and which offers guidance on subjects ranging from not sleeping well to sensitive skin.

A group has also been established on Facebook giving members the chance to ask each other questions about these matters.

An application is also available on the social network enabling members to send positive messages to their friends, and to download a "badge" to add to their own profile page.

The web is regarded as being a particularly effective medium to encourage the target audience to talk about their experiences.

Nick Handel, regional director of digital for Leo Burnett, Whisper's agency, said "a key pillar of our campaign is for women to appreciate their period by defining how the cycle is a part of their life."

He added that it had also used "unobtrusive" advertising on platforms like Facebook and MSN Messenger, which offered web users the chance to learn the "secrets of the cycle."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal; additional content by Warc staff