You Can Depend on Lisa Rinna

Hi, folks!

Sorry I’ve been MIA for a bit—I was stuck in the black hole that is finals. But the semester is finally coming to end, and while this blog was created as part of a class that has officially wrapped, I am pleased to report that Celebranded isn’t going anywhere!

Let us rejoice!

(I’ll give you a minute to let the joy flow you through. Don’t worry. Take your time.)

Hey, speaking of flow (I apologize for this segue)—has anyone seen Lisa Rinna’s new ad for Depend undergarments?

It’s been creating quite a bit of buzz—something that doesn’t happen all that often with an incontinence product. Take Jimmy Fallon’s musings on the topic, for example:

All the talk, of course, stems from the fact that Lisa Rinna isn’t really the target demographic for what is commonly referred to as “adult diapers.” She has freely admitted that she doesn’t use the product, but rather filmed the spot, with husband Harry Hamlin, as part of a charitable partnership between Depend and Dress for Success, a non-profit that helps low-income women secure employment.

“[Depend] donated $225,000 to Dress for Success if I tried them on in the commercial,” Rinna told the Huffington Post. “That’s why I did it. Plus, I loved their campaign…I believe women should feel good about themselves and if that means they need to talk about their problems, then absolutely. We need to help each other. I was not afraid to do this.”

Photo via The Heart Truth Fashion Show

I have to admit, I give Lisa Rinna a lot of credit for appearing in this spot, which is part of Depend’s “Great American Try-On” campaign. Even though the charitable angle arguably makes her look good, appearing in a Depend ad—especially at age 48—could still be seen as a rather risky career move. Stars don’t usually line up to have their name associated with adult diapers and bladder control problems. It’s just not…sexy.

Which of course brings us to Ms. Rinna, who struts the red carpet in an undetectable Depend Silhouette undergarment to show women that they can be sexy and confident in spite of a rather embarrassing—though not uncommon—health problem. I think it’s an important message. I also think the ad and product stand a decent chance of eliminating at least some of the shame many women must feel when they purchase bulky adult diapers and then struggle to hide any evidence that they’re wearing them.

I do wonder if it might have been better for Depend to secure someone closer in age—but still hip and attractive—to the target audience (a Helen Mirren type, for example). For the consumer, that kind of celeb might be able to lend more credibility to the product, since she would at least be of an age where problems like incontinence become a bigger issue. After all, Lisa Rinna has the confidence of knowing she doesn’t really need an adult diaper, and it might be a little off-putting to have a women under 50 telling a woman of, say, 70, that adult diapers really aren’t that bad.

But, in the end, that kind of ad probably wouldn’t be generating nearly as much publicity as Lisa Rinna’s spot. I would also guess that even just starting a public conversation about incontinence helps some women feel a little less embarrassed about the whole thing. And, gentlemen—in case you were worried that Depend had forgotten about its male consumers, fear not! The NFL’s Clay Matthews, Wes Welker, and DeMarcus Ware have tried on the brand’s “Real Fit for Men” undergarments to benefit the V Foundation for Cancer Research, which is working to find cures for diseases like prostate cancer (which can affect bladder control).

See, guys—adult diapers don’t have to hold you back from wearing spandex, either!

8 thoughts on “You Can Depend on Lisa Rinna

  1. I definitely agree with you that Depend should have used a more age-appropriate spokesperson regardless of whether or not it would have generated more publicity. If i want to sell a project I want to appeal to the target audience, after all I wouldn’t take a 24 year old woman to sell a dollhouse to a 7 year old. But then again marketing towards children is different so maybe that wasn’t a great analogy. Regardless I think using Ms Rinna for the advertisement wasn’t the best move. Now if they had just used her for a promotion to get the publicity and then hired a age-appropriate spokesperson I could understand a bit better. Maybe I’m over analyzing this

    • Thanks for your comment, Alex. You’re not overanalyzing–finding a spokesperson who resonates with your target audience can be tricky. If it were easy, I probably wouldn’t have a blog! Because this Lisa Rinna endorsement is so different from what anyone would expect for a brand like Depend, my feelings, as you read, are mixed. I really applaud it on the one hand, but do feel a certain, “Wha?” factor on the other. This is the only ad Rinna is scheduled to shoot for Depend, so it is more of a one-time stunt (among a few other one-time endorsement spots like the NFL commercial) to benefit charity, drive publicity, and start a conversation. I think a one-time deal is the only context in which this could work, especially since she doesn’t use the product.

      • I would imagine that for certain products such as Depends, it could be hard to find a major celebrity that wants to be labeled as the spokesperson. Instead, by taking the approach we see here with Lisa Rinna and the athletes, we are able to get beyond the awkwardness. We all know that these celebrities are not using the product, but they help to make a more mainstream commercial that would fit into programming other than The Price is Right. And as it has been mentioned, these commercials are getting people talking, which is all good news for the Depends brand.

  2. To me, a “champion of positive self-image for women” does not pose for Playboy and ruin her face with who knows how many lip injections. A champion of positive self-image would be secure enough to age gracefully and not have procedures.
    I don’t think she was the right person for this type of commercial!
    Once again television focused on the importance of a thin body, ”perfect” hair, lips, make up, etc as a measure of a woman’s worth and not so much on the product.

      • I 100% agree with Kalina. If someone really had confidence in who they are, why would they spend thousands of dollars to change their appearance? All that markets to me is, “I’m fake but really sincere about this product, so….” We as Americans focus WAY too much on the glam and glitz of celebrities. What I wouldn’t give to see a real person making a real difference by just being themselves. Imagine the self-esteem we could build up in the youth of today.

  3. Adrienne, you did a great job on your very first blog. The topic about the “diapers” was quite intersting and the video was even more. It really suprised me how these clebrities really make a big impact on how individuals view things. In this case diaspers for women. We all need someone that’ll help boost our confidence level while your sick whether your young or old.

  4. I think Lisa Rinna’s endorsement makes a pretty large statement. I not only commend her for not being afraid to speak up on a rather embarassing topic – but on how she wasn’t afraid to explain her real motives. I think, especially as a young woman, when we see a celebrity endorsing a product, we automatically assume the celebrities involvement. If I see a woman in a makeup ad, I used to assume they were wearing that makeup in the picture, and probably wore it everyday. Same thing with hair care. And medication. And I guess that’s the whole point by using celebrities to promote whatever it is you’re selling: to make us want to buy so we can be like them. (Sounds kind of pathetic when it’s put into those words, but hey, I think we’ve all fallen guilty to it in one way or another). But I appreciated her saying “Hey, you know what, they offered to pay this charity such-and-such amount of dollars if I tried these on, so I did it” and by doing so I think that made an even bolder statement. She wasn’t a celebrity WITH a problem and endorsing a product to fix it, but rather a voice for the underdog. For the women who live in shame and feel embarrassed to seek help. That’s when a celebrities moves should be mimicked. When they’re not afraid to state exactly what it is they stand for.

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