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Kimberly-Clark SocNet Campaign Targets Moms with Start-Up Cash

Kimberly-Clark is reaching out to one of its key buying groups - mothers that buy one of its top brands, Huggies diapers - with a social media campaign that targets their entrepreneurial needs. The consumer goods manufacturer has launched a site called HuggiesMomInspired.com, which is accepting submissions for new business ideas that would be backed by grants of up to $15,000.

K-C is planning a first year total contribution of $250,000.

Applications are due by June 9.

It is a clever play for K-C, which is focusing on several trends with this campaign, BrandWeek notes: both new mothers and female-run businesses, which grew at a rate of nearly 23% in 2008, or two times faster than business as a whole. Then there is this discouraging trend: only 3% of all venture capital funds go to women, according to K-C.

As part of the campaign, K-C is partnering with BSM Media and tapping such influencers as Maria Bailey, founder of BlueSuitMom.com.

Pampers Uproar

K-C rolled out its campaign in the middle of flurry of stories earlier this month about problems competitor Procter & Gamble was having with a rival brand Dry Max diapers - problems that eventually morphed into a Facebook page by disgruntled parents called Pampers Bring Back the Old Cruisers/Swaddlers.

Complaints over the product - namely that they cause diaper rash - quickly turned into an 'internet wildfire' that P&G is still trying to douse, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It is an interesting juxtaposition, Big Money notes, with one company illustrating the importance to listen and adapt to customer conversations and the other "embracing social-media research, community building, and collaboration in a manner that shows social media's positive potential rather than its liability."

But the discrepancy is a side issue, Big Money goes on. Most interesting is the campaign's apparent exclusion of traditional baby marketing techniques or even focus on its product.

Redefining Baby Care Brands

But look closer, says Steve Paljieg, senior director of growth and innovation at K-C, who tells Big Money that the company has been talking a lot with their target audience with the goal of innovating its product line. "We do a five year business cycle and we've identified innovation that takes us beyond the core - diapers and wipes - into something new that defines us a baby care brand," he says.

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