Kotex’s Pinterest campaign draws nearly 700,000 impressions

The feminine-care brand is giving gifts to Pinterest users and using a welcome-to-reality tone on Twitter to make people more comfortable talking about tampons.

For some brands, making the leap to social media is a little more complicated than starting an account and typing up a bunch of updates about your products.

Take Kotex, maker of tampons, maxi-pads, and panty liners. People can be a little uncomfortable chatting with their online pals about those sorts of things, because they’re exceedingly personal. It’s not quite the same as tweeting about some new shoes or your favorite soda.

So the company had to get creative, with an innovative way of appealing to Pinterest users in Israel and a Twitter account that isn’t afraid of straight talk.

Giving gifts

In Israel, Kotex isn’t as well known as it is in the United States, so the brand’s parent company, Kimberley-Clark, had to look for something that broke the mold to celebrate Women’s Inspiration Day.

“We looked for a unique and unconventional activity that will encourage Israeli women to talk about the products and rethink their habits and attitude toward the brand,” says Ayelet Hargash, cluster marketing director for Kimberly-Clark’s adult and feminine care brands.

In particular, the team was looking for ways to promote Kotex Designs, a series of products with colorful decorations on them. The team, which worked with agency Smoyz, landed on Pinterest because it’s a platform populated with a lot of women freely expressing themselves through design every day. Hargash says the team especially liked the simplicity of Pinterest.

“In one simple action, a pin, you can express yourself,” she says.

Kotex and Smoyz identified 50 pinners who fit into a few categories—their content goes viral, they’re trendsetters, and they’re sufficiently active on the site—to whom they sent personalized gift boxes.

“To be relevant for the consumers, you have to create true value for the consumer, and personalization is a great means,” Hargash says.

Initially, the company used social media monitoring software to find appropriate pinners, and later the team hand-picked the ones who seemed to best fit. Upon identifying those pinners, Kotex put together the gift boxes, which included items posted on the pinners’ inspiration boards, photographed them and posted an image on its Pinterest page.

All the pinners had to do to receive the gift was repin the post.

“The repin was a signal of their interest, and addresses were taken via personal message,” Hargash says.


It didn’t take much convincing to get the Pinterest gift campaign off the ground, Hargash says.

“We measure the ROI of the activity not by the cost per gift but by the cost of the activities and PR the activity gained,” she says.

And there was plenty of activity. Gift recipients not only pinned photos of their gifts, but posted photos on Facebook, tweeted about them, posted photos on Instagram, and blogged. Nearly everyone who got a gift posted somewhere online about it, to the tune of 2,284 total interactions.

Hargash says Kotex didn’t ask gift recipients to do anything more than post the initial repin.

“Knowing our consumer, we were confident that their reaction to the gift would be to post it in social media channels for everybody to see,” she says.

In fact, Kotex didn’t even promote the campaign outside of Pinterest. The gift recipients did it all. The brand netted nearly 700,000 total impressions from the campaign.

Twitter talk

Just about a month before Kotex in Israel made waves with its Pinterest campaign, the brand started creating buzz on Twitter with a tone much like that of the stand-up comedians in its TV ads. For example, here’s a tweet from May 9:

“Do the people who make the fem care ads realize #periods are a normal bodily function for 50 percent of the population?”

Those kinds of statements have resonated. The account has amassed nearly 8,000 followers in just around two months, and much of Kotex’s feed is retweets from folks who find its perspective refreshing. Some people find the approach “gross,” according to a post on the Kotex Tumblr, but the brand’s sticking to its guns.

“Women and girls have gotten the message that being on your period is somehow impure for centuries, and it’s honestly time that we feel comfortable talking about this thing that happens monthly, that’s kind of annoying, but that is a part of life that all of us women have to deal with,” the post states.

Matt Wilson is a staff writer for Ragan.com.

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