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:
Actress Lisa Rinna is the new spokesperson for Depends adult diapers. Yeah, the story wasn’t supposed to get out, but it leaked. #FallonMono
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) April 10, 2012
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.”
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!