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Emerita's tampon revolution

Emerita is using propaganda poster art-style marketing to “create a sense of urgency” around its new natural feminine hygiene products. I think it's going to get women talking—and buying.

There are personal care products women enjoy talking about: exotic superfruit ingredients, must-try body oils, natural manicure options. Then, there are tampons. No, those don’t typically make their way into our conversations. Instead, we frantically throw boxes of them in our closets when guests arrive or strategically pin them to our hips in the grocery store to avoid public tampon-purchasing indictment (that’s not just me … is it?). Maybe it’s understandable that tampons aren’t water cooler talk. But natural retail claims only about .5 percent of the total U.S. market for feminine hygiene, so could this lack of conversation, and therefore education, be the reason why?

The productsEmerita tampons

Enter Emerita’s new line of natural tampons and pads. After taking one look at the promo materials on my desk last week, I realized the company isn’t just providing products that are better for women’s bodies—those made with organic cotton and free from rayon and chlorine—but it is doing something even more significant: Through a unique marketing strategy, Emerita is getting women to engage in educational discourse about why to choose these products.

The marketing mission

Think poster from EmeritaI spoke with Emerita’s Marketing Manager Amy Spreadborough to get more info on the company’s plan for the products, which are shipping to retailers this month and will expand distribution in the fall. “Emerita's launch is all about educating natural retail consumers about the health benefits of natural cotton products,” she told me. Turns out, this isn’t so easy. Most women don’t associate organic cotton with health, according to an Emerita focus group: It’s not like organic produce, was a common response. “Too many women are thinking organic is [only] nice for the environment, forgetting that a tampon is essentially something that's ingested,” said Spreadborough. Toxin-free was more likely to resonate, but not without discussion. Discussion. That takes precious time, something that consumers don’t have while shopping. How, then, to relay this info to everyday shoppers at the point of purchase?

Point-of-purchase strategyPropaganda poster

It isn’t high-tech. It’s also isn’t subliminal. I think it’s totally brilliant, and it starts with the box, using an eye catching propaganda poster art-style to “create a sense of urgency around this issue,” said Spreadborough. Emerita’s new line of feminine hygiene products will get women, at the very least, thinking about it, and then probably talking about it, and ultimately buying it (literally, figuratively). Can you say market growth?  

Education outside the store 

Beyond store aisles, the company, which began with menopause-related products, continues to cultivate its women’s empowerment movement and tie its messages into the Emerita brand and products. A while ago, I discovered its “Look How Far We’ve Come” blog, which posts on everything from activism to aging to pop culture. And in conjunction with its new product launches, Emerita introduced a microsite exclusively about feminine hygiene, which uses the same bold style to relay information about health topics like toxic shock syndrome.

You can see it in the packaging, marketing, and education, Emerita wants a tampon revolution. I know I’m on board. Retailers and consumers, are you joining us?

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