2013 Platinum PR Awards: Wow! Award

Winner: Marina Maher Communications - Depend and the Great American Try On: Repositioning Incontinence from the Bathroom to the Forefront of Pop Culture

For people who get to the point in life when they need to wear adult diapers, the reaction is pretty much the same: They feel that their life is over. But the reality is that Depend users are relatively young (52). So when Depend—the No. 1 brand for incontinence protection—rolled out new briefs featuring the look and feel of real underwear, the company knew it had an opportunity to alter the brand perception.

Enter Marina Maher Communications, which worked with Depend to create The Great American Try On, or GATO.

Indeed, research concluded that telling consumers that the new Depend products were just like underwear wouldn’t resonate with the target audience. But research also showed that once people tried the product for themselves they loved it, so the campaign had to convince people to experience the new Depend products for themselves to appreciate the difference.

The PR team launched GATO featuring spokespeople who don’t really need the product, such as actress Lisa Rinna, who in TV ads wore Depend Silhouette briefs under a form-hugging dress as she walked the Red Carpet. The TV campaign also featured pro football stars Clay Matthews, DeMarcus Ware and Wes Welker, who wore Depend Real Fit briefs under their uniforms, encouraging consumers to give the product a shot.

The PR and marketing strategy paid off, with Depend’s adult care category growing to 58% share of the market in 2012, from 47% the previous year. The campaign also netted the most successful Depend media launch ever, with more than 1.1 billion media impressions and favorable coverage in major media outlets including The New York Times, People and ESPN.

Honorable Mentions:

  • AMD - AMD Radeon HD 7990 Publicity Stunt
  • Citizen Optimum - Tourism BC 2012 Annual Campaign
  • Hanna Lee Communications - "The World's Most Talked About and Most Profitable Bar Opening:  The Dead Rabbit, a 'Gangs of New York' Style Cocktail Saloon"
  • Ketchum - DoubleTree by Hilton's Little Things Project
  • Major League Baseball - MLB Man Cave
  • MWW - Zumba Nightclub Series ft. Lil Jon & Gina Grant
  • Peppercomm - T.G.I. Friday’s “The Last Friday”
  • Weber Shandwick - General Motors Revival: GM Dealers Take Comeback Story To The Streets


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About Matthew Schwartz

Group Editor, PR News: Matthew Schwartz is group editor of PR News, the leading source of trends, how-to content and best practices for PR professionals. Matthew leads the editorial strategy for PR News’ premium content products—including its weekly newsletter—and for its digital presence. Matthew was editor of PR News from 2003-2005. Prior to returning to PR News, Matthew was a reporter for Crain’s BtoB and Media Business magazines, where he covered business marketers and media companies. He was also editor of BMA Buzz, a biweekly email newsletter covering B2B marketing, advertising and social media, and contributing writer to Advertising Age Custom. Matthew has helped to launch blogs on behalf of ZoomInfo and direct marketing agency The Kern Organization. He also spent a few years in cable-news precincts, working as a writer/producer at CNN and Fox News Channel.

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