Kotex Takes a Risk on a Hip Brand Makeover

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Many promotional ideas and online brand engagement fail to catch on for a myriad of reasons. But every now and then, promotions are so unique they beg to be written about, discussed and dissected. The latest contest from Kotex is one of those ideas.

The maker of sanitary pads and napkins made the news this week for teaming up with redheaded dynamo stylist Patricia Field. Field, long a New York fashion scene staple, first gained national recognition for her wardrobe styling of the cast of Sex and the City. Since then, Field’s name has become synonymous with gutsy, think-outside-the-box fashion.

So it’s hard not to go “hmmm” when you think about the pairing of the 69-year-old Field and Kotex, a brand that is looking to appeal to younger consumers. Certainly the partnership is one of a kind. Kotex has set up a site entitled BandtheBland.com where designer hopefuls look to reinvent the standard white maxi pad. On the site in a promotional video, Field encourages contestants to go wild with colors patterns and even glitter. Kotex is also looking for a winning design of a special tin which will carry the stylish pads. Winners will have their designs produced and will attend Fashion Week in New York City this September. Kotex is hoping that Field, along with new “punk/glam” designed tampons, will help the brand separate itself from the old school hygiene product image.

“Young women have design choices to express themselves in all aspects of their lives from fashion to the color of their cell phone. So why do they still have to settle for the boring and institutional look of feminine care?” public relations rep Marissa Festante said in an interview with the New York Daily News.

While the concept technically is no different than the teddy bears added to your paper towels or the flowers on your toilet paper, Kotex is taking a risk by giving a well-known but rarely discussed product such a hip makeover. Time will tell if the brand’s bit of edgy and creative engagement will pay off.

The Double-edged Sword of Tweeting Employees

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Warning: That seemingly innocent intern you have in charge of your social media or the assistant you have running your Facebook might turn on you and tell the world what goes on behind closed doors at your business. We’ve recently seen the worst case scenarios of employees who tweeted too much and subsequently caused a public relations disaster. Last week at Marc Jacobs’ fashion empire, a disenchanted intern who was on his way out the door took to Twitter to air his frustrations with the company’s already publicly criticized CEO Robert Duffy. The 4 a.m. rant and its following firestorm of unrelated harassment lawsuits got us thinking: Should only inner circle employees be in charge of posting on company social network accounts?

The gut reaction, and not an incorrect one, is “well, of course only higher-ups and trusted individuals should be in charge of distributing our messages on Facebook, Twitter and the like.” This isn’t to say a background check and retinal scan is necessary just so we can have our assistant tweet about our new services. A little thoughtful, instinctual hiring about who gets to run our social media campaigns is all that’s really required. And paying them well to take care of it is a good place to start, too.

After all, an employee-run social media account can be really helpful, a lot of fun and great PR. We love that Zappos lets its employees run wild on Twitter and interact with its customers. Zappos employees use the platform to announce new products, to follow up on customer orders and to let followers know what’s happening on the site. @NORDSTROMdave, a men’s sportswear manager at Nordstrom department store in Burlington, Mass., recently popped up in Web Ink Now for the creative way he uses Twitter to inform customers of sales while giving style tips. Employees like Dave and those at Zappos are clearly happy where they work and enjoy spreading the word about their workplace. So, in the end, the best way to avoid a social media backlash is to keep being an amazing boss.

Brandsplat Video Report -April Fool’s Edition with Gmail Motion, Translate for Animals App and Touching Wood

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This week’s Brandsplat Video report episode covers Gmail Motion, Translate for Animals App and Touching Wood. April Fools! Check it out! Or click here for more Brandsplat vids

5 Things You Might Have Missed!

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No fooling around here! We’ve come up with a list of the most Muppetlicious, snake-tastic and cheesiest social media, online marketing and brand engagement stories to be found on the web.

  1. Mac & Tweets: You might have missed this one if you aren’t a regular watcher of TBS’ late night lineup of Conan and The George Lopez Show (so, that covers most people) — but thanks to the Internet, Kraft’s clever Twitter-based campaign will live forever. Kraft used real tweets about Macaroni & Cheese as the basis for ten quickly-produced television commercials. Funny, smart and interactive, the campaign represents the best in social media and television coupling.
  2. Tech With a Purpose: Sony’s Open Planet Ideas is a campaign that called upon ideas about how the company could use its technology to make the world a little bit better and greener. Sony devoted a website to the campaign to chart the progress, profile the entries and host a blog. The winning concept was Greenbook, an online app and magazine devoted to helping empower people to save the planet.
  3. Cobra on the Loose: The Bronx Zoo became a household name when one if its residents decided to up and leave. We’re talking about the poisonous Egyptian cobra that escaped earlier this week and caused an Internet fury. With his own Twitter account, some cheesy merchandise and a whole lot of press coverage, the cobra makes our list just for being an old-fashioned goofy news story covered in a way that’s very 2011.
  4. Learning From Famous Failures: This list of folks who tried, failed and tried again is staying on our desktop as a reminder that even rejected types still have the potential to turn into Indiana Jones.
  5. Muppets. Period.: Well, if you missed the hit Muppet viral videos that have garnered 60 million YouTube hits, then don’t worry. You’ll get a chance to get in on all the Muppet action when Kermit and the crew hit theaters this November. Directed by Jason Segel with a Flight of the Concords soundtrack, the movie promises to put the brand back on top. Segel and costar of the film Amy Adams unveiled footage from the film this week at CinemaCon to the delight of Muppet nerds and parent company Disney, who has smartly revitalized the Muppets using viral video and social media.