Metaphor, Bad Taste, and Salesmanship in Advertising

This afternoon, Rick Lewis directed my attention to On the site, Matthew Creamer salutes Kimberly-Clark, whose brand Kotex U is

…keeping a cheeky Australian campaign featuring a woman, her animated beaver and the tagline “You’ve only got one. So for the ultimate care down there, make it U.” Not surprisingly the ad has sparked complaints (over 150), but it’s also helped Kotex gain two share points in the $250 million market and overcome the perception that it’s not as reliable as rival products.

He’s got the TV ad embedded on the site, and it’s worth watching both for the junior-high-quality laugh and because it teaches a good advertising lesson.

Because of legal and/or societal restrictions, Kimberly-Clark can’t discuss what the product does, or what its target consumer is supposed to do with it. So they’ve got to tell their story without actually saying anything.

The beaver both catches your attention and reminds you (in case you need reminding) where the product goes. The scenes of attractive women having fun tell consumers that with Kotex U, they can live their lives without worrying about… well, what they would otherwise worry about. And the observation “You’ve only got one” drives home the point that when choosing a feminine hygiene product, it’s important to choose the right one — Kotex U.

Kotex U employs risque humor in the best possible way — as a tool to deliver a strong sales message.


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2 thoughts on “Metaphor, Bad Taste, and Salesmanship in Advertising

  1. Whenever I hear about these campaigns (or see tragically over produced TV commercials), I always wonder how the pitch meeting went between the ad agency and the client.

    Stunned silence? Guffaws of embarassed laughter? Exclamations of “we can use our dog who looks just like a beaver!”

    We need ad agency pitch room cams.