REIGATE, UK – Kimberly-Clark this month launches a mail-based loyalty program for its “Huggies” diaper brand at women and young mothers in France. The company plans to drop 1.5 million to 2 million pieces during the rest of this year.
“We have done direct mail since we launched ‘Huggies’ in France back in 1995 and France has become a key market for us,” said the company’s European marketing manager John White.
“But this is the first time we have done this type of relationship building program in France. It is modeled on a very successful program we have had in the UK since May of 1998.” It is known in France as “Huggies, bebe & moi.”
White said it started in January with a targeted advertising blitz in the half dozen French publications that are sent to French mothers and expectant mothers, mostly published for product sampling purposes.
But the publications, which are privately owned, take advertising and they blanket the market. “They give you total coverage of new moms in France and by being in them you hit virtually every new mom in the country,” he said.
The number of new births in France totals about 750,000 a year, White added, and “because we are in multiple publications we are talking about an advertising size of 4 to 6 million. We look for a healthy response rate because the program is free and very attractive.”
Names have already begun to flow into Kimberly-Clark’s French office in response to the off-the-page ads. Coupons invite would-be mothers or mothers of babies under 12 months of age to join. Only those who do are sent the information. No lists are rented for this venture.
“This is a specific program of staged communications where we send information at different stages of a baby’s age. We send out a binder so the mom can keep information on each age of the baby, and that helps her get through the experience of parenthood.
“Mothers receive information at whatever age her baby may be, starting with ‘minus two’ – i.e. two months before delivery. Then we mail out plus two, plus five, plus eight and plus twelve.
“That amounts to five mailers that French moms receive at two to three month intervals so that it almost amounts to a library of information. We thus build an emotional relationship in which emotion affects behavior.
“Huggies is a brand that stands for supporting new moms and this is a very visible way of showing that we do that and moms feel very good about it.”
Obviously the UK creatives had to be redone and recast for the French market. White hired a French agency with multi-national experience he declined to identify.
Nor does Kimberly-Clark do the “Huggies” program alone, but enlists partners to broaden the area of information French mothers are provided.
The French program was done in partnership with Sony Kodak and Nestle. Sony offers music specifically designed to help a mom and her baby sleep. “Get them early and keep them for life,” White deadpanned.
Kodak offers films and Nestle a range of baby food products.