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Depend is a brand of absorbent, disposable underwear for adults experiencing urinary or fecal incontinence. It is made by Kimberly-Clark. The product was first introduced in 1984. It is the dominant brand of disposable incontinence garments in the United States, with a 30.8 share of the market.
Kimberly-Clark has been making Huggies disposable diapers for infants since 1978. In 1984, the Depend products for adults were introduced, pioneering the retail incontinence category in the United States.
The original products were liners, available in regular and extra absorbencies. They could be worn inside underwear or alone, and were held on by small elastic belts. These were intended for moderate to heavy bladder incontinence. There were also fitted briefs for heavy to complete bladder incontinence as well as bowel incontinence.
The padding was originally similar to what had been used for disposable baby diapers like Huggies. In 1988, all Depend products began to use an Absorb-Lock core which turns to a gel when wet.
The product was originally unisex in style; in March 2009, Depend introduced gender-specific adult underwear in the United States and Canada. Depend Underwear for Men and Depend Underwear for Women replaced the existing unisex adult underwear on store shelves nationwide.
For more than 20 years the principal spokesperson for the product was actress June Allyson, who was inspired to educate the public about incontinence because of her own mother's struggle with the problem. According to Kimberly-Clark, she "did more than any other public figure to encourage and persuade people with incontinence to lead fuller and more active lives."
On March 30, 2009, Depend launched the largest integrated marketing campaign in brand history featuring TV, print, online, direct mail, in-store communication and public relations elements. The TV campaign, created by ad agency JWT, was directed by 2004 Academy Award winning director Errol Morris.
In 2012 the company's advertising took a new approach. Previous ads had featured elderly actors with the implication that incontinence did not prevent them from carrying out active lives. The new approach used younger celebrities who were not incontinent but agreed to model the Depend brief-style products for charity. Featured celebrities included actress Lisa Rinna, football player Clay Matthews, hockey player P. J. Stock, and figure skater Isabelle Brasseur.