A multimedia advertising campaign for period pants earned 25-year-old Levke Sydow (pronounced ‘Zuudow’) the Hanze Innovation Award. Less than a day later, the former International Communication student was home with her proud parents in Kiel. Time to give her a call…
I was awake all night wondering who or what is ‘Kora Mikino’?
‘It’s the name of a start-up company and the period pants they sell. “Kora Mikino” literally means “good friend” in Esperanto. Period pants are good for women and good for the world. Period underwear is reasonably mainstream in the US and Kora Mikino is now also doing well in Germany.’
And that is thanks to your advertising campaign?
‘No. My research focused on how they can expand. They want to enter the Scandinavian market: Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. I was given complete freedom. It quickly became clear to me that the values of the company had to play a crucial role, because they are truly unique. The average menstrual product manufacturer presents them as things that make you really happy.’
Menstruation is not fun, and you shouldn’t try to pretend otherwise, according to prospective Kora customers.
It sometimes seems like tampons turn you into a better athlete.
‘When they want to show you that a sanitary napkin can absorb a lot of fluid, they always use a blue liquid. They never use red, which is of course the actual colour. Blood. Menstruating is simply not fun. That is something you should not try to sidestep, believes Kora Mikino, and the customers share this belief. Another company value is sustainability; why produce waste when it is not necessary? That is something else that a lot of women are looking for.’
So, are the Scandinavians interested in the pants?
‘You better believe it. I’ve surveyed hundreds of potential clients. The sustainability aspect in particular is very important to Scandinavians. You can put that in the campaign. I have proposed several strategies and created actual materials for them.’
Wow, how much time did you spend working on this project?
‘Four months, exactly how much time was available. I know, that might be the German way of looking at it. On the other hand, I really enjoyed doing it, and then it doesn’t take much effort.’
What are you going to do with the €2,000?
‘Put it in the bank for the time being. Then again… When I move out of my parents’ place again, I will need some furniture, but I could also use the money to do some travelling.’
Has your own market value increased as a result of this award?
‘I have no idea. Right now, I’m working as a brand manager for an industrial company. It’s really cool, but the company is a bit too big for my taste. As a result, they’re not as flexible; there are official procedures for pretty much everything. You have more latitude in a small company, in my experience. Ideally, I would like to join a company that has just launched itself.’