Magazine article ADWEEK

Lady in Red: How a Long-Overdue Package Update Landed Brawny on Ellen's Show

Magazine article ADWEEK

Lady in Red: How a Long-Overdue Package Update Landed Brawny on Ellen's Show

Article excerpt

Barrel-chested hunks have long been the workhorses of the branding realm. Some--Mr. Clean, the Marlboro Man--were born on the drawing boards of postwar Madison Avenue. But as recently as 2010, with "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like," Old Spice proved that pecs and biceps never quite go out of fashion.

That is, until they do. Heads turned in March when the Brawny paper towel brand sent its resident hunk packing for the first time in 43 years--and put a woman on the wrapper.

Then, in a fillip worthy of marketing textbooks, Brawny one-upped itself by putting Ellen DeGeneres there--and getting the pack of paper towels on her TV show.

It had been a long time coming. The Brawny Man had stood front and center on the package since 1974. The reason for his long tenure was that, through various haircut and wardrobe adjustments, a hunky guy had always been a metaphor for brand performance: He was strong, durable and dependable, just like you'd want your paper towels to be.

It's anyone's guess why it took so long for everyone to realize that a woman could also be all of these things. Last year's "Strength Has No Gender" campaign finally cast women in place of the Brawny Man--but only in the media, not on the packaging. So when 2017 dawned, it was obvious what the next marketing step should be.

"This was the first time a woman's been on the pack," related Georgia Pacific's vp of marketing activation Laura Knebusch. …

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