Like the smell of a used diaper, this story isn't going away until a grownup takes action.
Complaints have been wafting around for weeks that Pampers' new Dry Max diapers are causing rashes and other skin irritations (presumably on the infants that wear them). Procter & Gamble
But the denial did nothing to absorb the controversy, and the complaints accelerated -- aided by social media, and especially by the Facebook page "Pampers bring back the OLD CRUISERS/SWADDLERS," which is now approaching 11,000 members. In addition, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating, and should announce its findings soon.
But here's where the grownups are stepping in. A Wall Street Journal article details what I consider a brilliant response by P&G management -- attempting to stem the social media tide by turning it against itself. Supplementing stepped-up advertising of the product, the company invited two separate groups of influential "mommy bloggers" to its Cincinnati headquarters in order to explain the science and testing procedures behind the new diapers -- which use the same gel as the old ones but are 20% thinner.
Judging from the Journal's reporting, the Great Diaper Summit went well. For example, one blogger, whose child had experienced a rash after first wearing the Dry Max (but none since) left with her questions answered and concerns resolved.
P&G doesn't baby around when it comes to its diaper products and Pampers brand, which account for some $8 billion in annual sales. Every point of market share it can gain or defend against Kimberly-Clark is huge. The Journal says sales are holding steady, so the efforts seem to be working so far. There's a lot riding on -- as well as in -- the new Dry Max diapers.
Fool analyst Rex Moore has changed his share of diapers. He owns shares of Procter & Gamble. Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble are Motley Fool Income Investor choices. The Fool owns shares of Procter & Gamble. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.