Common problem, uncommon insight

In summary If you hope to appeal to humans with your solution, you should ensure you've properly humanizing the problem first.

Humanizing a problem should be the first step if you hope to appeal to humans with the solution. I do some of my best thinking on the run–literally. I do a few miles most every lunch hour and am consistently amazed at the directions my brain takes. It’s not always quality stuff, mind you, and it’s hard to remember it all, but there’s something about being out on the “open road” that releases a certain kind of endorphin. It’s not quite the same on the treadmill in the building’s workout room, but that’s where I found myself during one rainy lunch hour recently. The ideas weren’t flowing, so I picked up the remote and flipped on the TV across the room. And that’s when I saw it: a commercial for Poise bladder-leakage pads.

This was no standard-issue “Depends” type spot, featuring “active seniors” living their “lives” to the “fullest,” moisture be damned. This was a surgically targeted and ingeniously structured niche campaign called “One in Three Like Me.” The celebrity spokesperson, Whoopi Goldberg (I know), directed viewers to a website, (, no longer active). Whoopi didn’t pitch the product–she elicited empathy. It’s a brilliant tactic–get the problem out in the open, then associate it with a well-liked celebrity to nudge the target toward action. The website does all the selling, and even there, it’s hardly aggressive.

There’s a blog, a series of message boards, a survey w/results, well-shot testimonial videos (real women? actors? who cares), a Twitter feed, even an application for a free sample. They’ve even branded the problem itself: LBL (light bladder leakage). See what they’ve done there? By calling it “light” bladder leakage, it minimizes it without dismissing it. By giving it initials, LBL, you can talk about it in code, without using words like “bladder” and “leakage.” By giving the campaign the umbrella of “1 in 3 like me,” and giving the microsite the same URL, it instantly lets the visitor know they’re not alone–literally millions of women share this problem.

Poise is a Kimberly-Clark product, and they’re no stranger to massive ad campaigns or successful brands, but this one stood out for me for both its branding insight and in its effective use of social media–as opposed to being tacked-on, this genuinely starts a conversation and keeps it going. These message boards are being used! This blog gets updated regularly! They’ve even appointed a “resident LBL expert,” Marilyn (guess Whoopi was too busy).

Congratulations to the creative team and the client for taking a potentially boring or even off-putting product and turning it into something interesting and engaging. I’m sure they’re seeing results.

I ordered a sample kit. Just want to see how effective these things are during a 4-mile run.