CASE 41 Tambrands—Overcoming Cultural
Tampax, Tambrands’s only product, is the best-selling tampon in the world, with 44 percent of the global market. North America and Europe account for 90 percent of those sales. Company earnings dropped 12 percent to $82.8 million on revenues of $662 million. Stakes are high for Tambrands because tampons are basically all it sells, and in the United States, which currently generates 45 percent of Tanbrands’s sales, the company is mired in competition with such rivals as Playtex Products and Kimberly-Clark. What’s more, new users are hard to get because 70 percent of women already use tampons. In the overseas market, Tambrands ofﬁcials talk glowingly of a huge opportunity. Only 100 million of the 1.7 billion eligible women in the world currently use tampons. In planning for expansion into a global market, Tambrands divided the world into three clusters, based not on geography but on how resistant women are to using tampons. The goal is to market to each cluster in a similar way. Most women in Cluster 1, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, already use tampons and may feel they know all they need to know about the product. In Cluster 2, which includes countries such as France, Israel, and South Africa, about 50 percent of women use tampons. Some concerns about virginity remain, and tampons are often considered unnatural products that block the ﬂow. Tambrands enlists gynecologists’ endorsements to stress scientiﬁc research on tampons. Potentially the most lucrative group—but inﬁnitely more challenging—is Cluster 3, which includes countries like Brazil, China, and Russia. There, along with tackling the virginity issue, Tambrands must also tell women how to use a tampon without making them feel uneasy. While the advertising messages differ widely from country to country, Tambrands is also trying to create a more consistent image for its Tampax tampons. The ads in each country show consecutive shots of women standing outside declaring the tampon message, some clutching a blue box of Tampax. They end with the same tagline, “Tampax. Women Know.” While marketing consultants say Tambrands’ strategy is a step in the right direction, some caution that tampons are one of the most difﬁcult products to market worldwide. virginity if they use a tampon. When they go to the beach in tiny bikinis, tampons aren’t their choice. Instead, hordes of women use pads and gingerly wrap a sweater around their waist. Now, the number 1 tampon maker hopes a bold new ad campaign will help change the mindset of Brazilian women. “Of course, you’re not going to lose your virginity,” reassures one cheerful Brazilian woman in a new television ad. Tambrands’s risky new ads are just part of a highstakes campaign to expand into overseas markets where it has long faced cultural and religious sensitivities. The new ads feature local women being surprisingly blunt about such a personal product. In China, another challenging market for Tambrands, a new ad shows a Chinese woman inserting a tampon into a test tube ﬁlled with blue water. “No worries about leakage,” declares another. “In any country, there are boundaries of acceptable talk. We want to go just to the left of that,” says the creative director of the New York advertising agency that is creating Tambrands’s $65 million ad campaign worldwide. “We want them to think they have not heard frankness like this before.” The agency planned to launch new Tampax ads in 26 foreign countries and the United States. However, being a single-product company, it is a risky proposition for Tambrands to engage in a global campaign and to build a global distribution network all at the same time. Tambrands concluded that the company could not continue to be proﬁtable if its major market was the United States and that to launch a global marketing program was too risky to do alone.
PROCTER & GAMBLE ACQUIRES TAMBRANDS
The company approached Procter &...
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