Huggies TweetPee Offers a Lesson in Mobile Marketing

Taking wearable devices to a new level, the Huggies TweetPee is a lesson in driving consumer behaviors (and dry diapers).

In one of the more interesting uses of wearable technology—and likely the only one to outright refer to urine—Huggies is trialing a product in Brazil called the TweetPee.

As shown in a commercial created by ad agency Ogilvy Brazil, and reported by Digital Trends, the product consists of a little (plastic?) sensor with a Twitter-ish-looking bird on it that a caretaker attaches to a diaper at the crotch.

The commercial shows a newborn, but the Brazilian Huggies site shows the TweetPee on a child old enough to stand unassisted. (The mind races, considering the bribes this child must have been given not to instantly tear off the thing, as well as the fact that the product seems to rely on the child never wearing pants.)

But if your child is young enough to have no finger dexterity, or can be made to ignore the rather sizable device on his or her privates, the reward is that TweetPee will send you a message to say that your kid is wet. Or that you can keep doing what you're doing in the other room because your kid is dry.

Digital Trends explains, "Using a humidity sensor with the small device, the TweetPee constantly monitors the humidity levels and fires off a tweet notification to a linked iPhone smartphone. A few of the messages sent from the TweetPee include phrases like, 'Time to Change,' 'Oops, did a few drops,' and 'Everything OK here.'"

Additionally, the app can show how many times a day the baby's diaper was changed, enable a user to order more diapers at the press of a button and offer an alert when those diapers begin to run low.

Clive Sirkin, chief marketing officer of Kimberly-Clark, which counts Huggies amongst its brands, has a saying, "We're not digital marketers but marketers for a digital age," Matt Witt, executive vice president and director of Digital Integration at marketing firm TRIS3CT, told eWEEK.

"What's happening on the back end, with driving consumer behavior to buy Huggies online, is brilliant," said Witt.

"Retailers are struggling right now to figure out how to become the go-to for everyday items," he continued. "I think it's a really good attempt at trying to create that behavior, though the real brilliance of this is the view into how many diapers you've gone though, how many you have left and the one-button order to have more diapers sent to you."

However easy it is to poke fun at the TweetPee, it offers an interesting case study during a time when businesses of all types are struggling to figure out how to use mobile technologies to engage with consumers and build brand loyalty.

"It all comes down to marketing in general, and making sure your actions are in line with real consumer behaviors," Witt advised. "People constantly have their devices with them ... so it comes down to creating value and making sure you're using the channel and the tool appropriately."

Witt added that companies are experimenting with iAds and small mobile banners, but expects that exercises like the Huggies' one, which drives consumer behavior, will become more frequent. But, as in all advertising, there's a need to find the right balance and not come across as making a hard sell.

"It's tricky," said Witt.

When asked his professional opinion of the TweetPee name, Witt offered a personal answer.

"I have a 2-year-old and a baby on the way. Since becoming parents, I think the vocabulary and the language my wife and I use [for body parts and functions] has changed dramatically," he said. "I think it's very insightful into how parents behave."

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