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Kimberly-Clark Depend Raises Incontinence Awareness in China

November 12, 2012

Kimberly-Clark (K-C) Depend and ad agency Ogilvy & Mather (O&M) Shanghai have launched a new campaign to raise awareness about incontinence in China, where bladder control’s even more of a taboo topic than it is here in the States.


The new ads feature one-minute spots meant to appeal to the children of aging parents via humorous or touching clips highlighting the “little white lies” parents tell us out of love while growing up, i.e. the best of everything they do is saved and meant for their children. This commercial, along with banner ads on popular Chinese websites, lead kids and caregivers to an online “lie detector test,” regarding their parents’ bathroom habits/outdoor activities and how they’ve changed over the years. They can then order free Depend sample products to be sent directly to their homes.


Thomas Zhu, Group Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising/Shanghai said, “Our communications strategy focuses on the caregivers rather than the beneficiaries. So we found a way to build a deep emotional bond with the target audience of Chinese sons and daughters in their mid-20s and up by tapping into the Chinese value of filial piety. This digital campaign opens up a fresh conversation about the often overlooked issue of elderly incontinence.” According to the O&M Chinese agency, 34% of Chinese adults over the age of 35 experience some level of urine leakage at least once a week. Plus, with China’s population at over 1.3 billion, it’s home to approximately 23% of the 65+ age group worldwide, but they still only account for 1% of global incontinent supply sales—another solid reason for Depend to try chipping away at that stigma.

Jaja Lang, marketing director for K-C Adult and Feminine Care, elaborated, “Incontinence is a universal health issue that impacts many elderly Chinese, but they often feel embarrassed and voiceless to openly discuss the problem. In an effort to alleviate their physical and emotional discomfort, this campaign offers an intimate and comforting way to raise awareness of the issue with the people who are best positioned to help these sufferers—their children.”

Depend for Men Real Fit briefs and the Depend for Women Silhouette pull ups are K-C’s latest offerings in adult diapers, designed with discretion and dignity as top priorities. Both products are made to look and feel more like regular underwear, so the media blitz is most certainly timely, but don’t let marketing savvy make you skeptical.


K-C and Depend have a history of being responsible corporate citizens in the communities where their facilities are located and their environmental and social efforts in China since 1994 have won them much recognition. In 2010, the corporation donated 200,000 yen to the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, which provides water, food and water source solutions to the southwest region of China where drought has been devastating. Over 6 million yen in cash and relief supplies went to provide disaster relief after the Wenchuan and Yushu earthquakes. K-C China sponsors the Young and Female Chorus of the China National Symphony Orchestra and has also collaborated with The Jane Goodall Institute in China on “3R Better Life” and “Saving Water - Saving our Planet.” There are more charitable contributions to toot horns about, but this “oldie but goodie” is our favorite: In 1999, K-C China adopted two giant panda bears from the Chengdu Research Base; they’re named Kleenex and Kimberly-Clark and are the inspiration for the Panda drawing competition for children, also, naturally, sponsored by K-C.