Talk:Playtex/GA1

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GA Review[edit]

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OK, since this is the oldest one outstanding, I'll do it. I will be printing it out and going through it, so it might be a couple of days.

Reviewer: Daniel Case (talk · contribs) 02:45, 12 April 2013 (UTC) OK, sorry for the delay. I will be doing what I hope will be a short copy edit and leaving my notes here afterwards. Daniel Case (talk) 14:18, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Thanks! Eager to see your feedback. This one has been in the queue for quite some time, but I know the GA reviews are quite backed up. CorporateM (Talk) 14:39, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

OK now ...

I didn't want to start this until after I'd made the biggest correction I saw needed to made. I found the bra company's version of the logo and swapped {{infobox company}} for {{infobox brand}}. After all, the article says right there at the get-go that this is a brand used by two separate companies for different product categories. The website says the same thing.

I think this can be a good article. It's obviously been fairly well-researched. By the standards of most of our corporation/brand articles it's pretty good. It touches on the basics.

But it has some issues to address before it's all the way there. And it could become a featured article with a lot more work and a lot more tapping the right sources.

Some specific issues:

  • We say in the lede that Playtex Apparel makes "bras and lingerie", although a quick purvey of its website shows that it currently only makes bras, as the article itself states (correctly) more than once further on. Can we perhaps find out when it stopped making panties, slips, camisoles etc.? I would think that probably happened around the time Sara Lee absorbed them into Hanes, since Hanes' other lingerie brands have the other ones well covered and maybe only the bras were a profit center.
 Done It turns out they sell bras (mostly), panties and shapewear, according to their annual report (and my wife), but bras are the top-seller. Corrected. 21:51, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
  • In fact, I think the intro could benefit from an extensive rewrite. There's a lot in the article that should be there. We mention only one of Playtex's pioneering marketing techniques but there are several in the article—the first American TV ads for undergarments, the first live-model bra TV ad—that should be there as well (Also, when they used Brenda Vaccaro as their ad spokesperson both on TV and in print, I think she was the first celebrity spokesperson to pitch feminine products). And we might want to mention the manufacturing innovations, such as the patent that made the girdles possible (Also, I seem to recall, wasn't it Playtex who introduced the plastic tampon applicator?). Certainly the space-suit contract should be in there too.

    Lastly, it might be worth mentioning that Playtex is the only feminine-care brand used for products outside that category.

    Oh, and how widely is the brand used? US? North America? Worldwide? We'd like to know.

 Done Re-written and expanded on your points, including the plastic applicator. I did find sources talking about he Brenda Vaccaro commercials, but nothing about it being a notable first. CorporateM (Talk) 21:47, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm doing a polish of sorts trying to keep summary style in mind. Daniel Case (talk) 04:34, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
  • The excerpt from the girdle ad could probably qualify as a free image, if the original ad predates the mid-1960s (as it seems to) and has no copyright notice (it was opt-in at the time).
Do you mean this part? "Success story: Invisible Playtex Girdle" from the ad? CorporateM (Talk) 21:55, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
  • The still from the TV ad obviously cannot be justified as a free image (It would be really great to have some video, if we could get it). However, to better support its presence in the article, we need some contemporary commentary on it (I do remember it being newsworthy at the time, although mostly in the ad trades) to satisfy fair-use criterion 8. Merely describing it won't do.
 Done I just took it out, as I don't think we would find recent commentary and we have other images that are of more significant aspects. CorporateM (Talk) 21:55, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
I still think we could get significant commentary, because I remember it in the popular press at the time (I think there was actually some Christian-right types complaining about it). Or, at least, the advertising trades (I had a subscription to Adweek (as it was then called) at the time).

Oh, OK, here's The New York Times saying they should be "totally inoffensive". Seems like we meant 1987, not 1985.

For now, this leaves us without a picture of the bras, though. Either you can sneak into the lingerie department and get a photo of some hanging, or find a woman (or two) willing to pose with hers on (perhaps if you don't show her face).

And why did we lose the picture of the girl with the baby bottles? It's a free image; it's not the best picture I could think of to show that product line but it's better than nothing (remember the bottles and sippy cups themselves are useful articles and thus ineligible for copyright). Daniel Case (talk) 04:34, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Ok, I think I get what you meant now about adding additional commentary on the ad to justify its placement. CorporateM (Talk) 04:51, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
  • In 1990 Playtex acquired Maybelline' ..." Which Playtex? The company had been split by then, as the preceding sentences tell us.
 Done Playtex Products CorporateM (Talk) 15:17, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
  • We learn in the last section that a third of Playtex Products' revenue comes from tampon sales. But those numbers are from 2000. It's 2013. That's why I tagged that section with {{update}}.
It might be a long shot, but an analyst firm published some market-share information more recently (costs about $4,500 for the report) and I asked if it was possible to get a copy for Wikipedia purposes. CorporateM (Talk) 18:27, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
There might be other sources ... is there a trade publication for the fem-prod industry? I mean, every other industry has one. Do they or their parent companies do any sort of boasting in their annual reports? (Also, to reflect the (ahem) period when Playtex Products was publicly traded, perhaps we should parenthetically note its ticker symbol (PYX, I seem to recall, which might make a good redirect to claim for this) and something about how it traded (average, high and close when it was finally acquired)). Daniel Case (talk) 04:34, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Speaking of tampons, I find it interesting that we have a picture of a woman in a Playtex bra, a baby girl looking at a batch of Playtex baby bottles, but ... no pictures of what we tell readers is probably the biggest-selling product to bear the Playtex brand. Would it be that hard to shoot a sort of "still life with tampons, both wrapped and unwrapped, with some boxes" to illustrate that section, and maybe some on the shelves to be part of a montage for the infobox? Are we that squeamish? I think this is one of those things where the overwhelmingly male compostion of the community is clearly to our encyclopedic detriment (I mean, look, this article waited five months in the GAN queue and nobody reviewed it ... are we all like "EW EW EW EW" or something? Certainly we're not in fifth grade anymore; we have no excuse)

    I mean, you at least found something to give us a sentence about what aspect of Playtex bras its customers like (but more on this in a later section on ways to get this to featured status).

Daniel Case (talk) 05:46, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

 Done Got a quick shot from the grocery store CorporateM (Talk) 18:14, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Which is OK for now but looks a little problematic, licensing-wise, since it's just a closeup of one box with nothing else in it. While the logo isn't copyrightable, the box design most certainly is even though it includes non-copyrightable elements ... and this thus violates the de minimis principle (since it is only the reproduction of a copyrighted work and nothing else). I mean, it's acceptable in this article since it's about that product, but still ... it would need relicensing to recognize this and a fair-use justification. Also, it shows only one of Playtex's tampon lines ... what about Sport? Maybe a picture of a whole shelf full might solve both problems (until we can create that still life I'd like, which would make it easier since the tampons and applicators themselves would fall under the useful-articles exemption).

And speaking of Sport, could we have some discussion of these two lines? Slate has an interesting piece about Sport and its marketing (by a male writer, yet) that seems like we could use it. After all, we discuss the specific bras. Daniel Case (talk) 04:34, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Ok, still working on trying to get some more recent market-share numbers. CorporateM (Talk) 21:55, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

And some more things:

Oh, here's another contradiction to resolve:

  • From "Recent history": "Later that year Playtex Products was acquired by Energizer Holdings for $1.16 billion"
  • And the graf right below it in "Organization": "The Playtex bra brand is operated by HBI Branded Apparel Enterprise, LLC, which is part of Energizer Holdings ..."

    So are both Playtexes owned by Energizer Holdings, ultimately? Our own article on that company suggests that it only owns the consumer-products company. Can we clear this up?

  • Also, this sentence from the history: "As Playtex challenged Tampax for a share of the tampon market, manufacturers, including Playtex, were sued for aggressively advertising and competing over absorbency, despite scientific consensus that excessive absorbency leads to toxic shock syndrome" This free-floating sentence should be added to a paragraph.
  • Last thing I can think of before I collapse into sleep again: I'm going to get this older logo, from when it was all one company and they used this on everything they made, into the Commons category I created and into the history section. Daniel Case (talk) 04:34, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
2 am for me, but I managed to get the old logo on a transparent background and throw it up there. Will find a better spot for it later. CorporateM (Talk) 06:25, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

I added a quote from the Times re the bra ads, and a note from that article about how they were nevertheless only run during daytime, to shore up the fair-use justification. Also, the Times has this article from 1976 behind its paywall about how things were before, and how Playtex and other bra makers used to have to put the bra on a mannequin, or show a diagram, to comply. Daniel Case (talk) 17:20, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Heh that turned out to be a waste of $4. Just had a few paragraphs, mostly stuff already covered by other sources. I also trimmed back a bit, because the level of detail was becoming excessive. CorporateM (Talk) 19:07, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Sorry about that; if we ever meet in person I owe you. I had added all that detail just to be on the safe side of FUC 8; some people practically need to see a whole section of commentary or they go running to FfD.

It had also occurred to me when I was going over this that Playtex introduced the deodorant tampon (well, now they call it the "scented" tampon, and I think it's still unique to their line). We might be able to back up at least its uniqueness with Ebony ad from the late 1970s (which would also illustrate the intensity of their competitive status wrt Tampax; this is them going after Tampax like Pepsi after Coke (I love the fake box ... it's so obvious who they're going after without mentioning the competing brand). (Oh, and here's something (scroll down a page) explicitly saying that Playtex introduced the scented tampon).

 Done This also offers some more context about the competition heating up and a lead-in to the TSS problems. CorporateM (Talk) 14:10, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Here's more on the TSS fallout from The Curse: a federal judge offered to reduce an $11 million verdict against Playtex if it took super-plus tampons off the market (And there's some ca. 1988 market-share info on p. 140 if you scroll back).

 Done Definitely seems like an important event that gives us some specifics on how the TSS controversy effected them. Also, it turns out "scientific consensus" is not really quite correct. CorporateM (Talk) 14:10, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Oh cool ... the Watergate burglasrs wore Playtex surgical gloves.

Trivia? CorporateM (Talk) 14:10, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

From 1983: New York describes Playtex as the undisputed leader of the bra market, with a 25 percent share.

 Done CorporateM (Talk) 14:10, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Daniel Case (talk) 02:57, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Playtex sues Tampax alleging patent infringement over the plastic applicator (which IIRC wasn't Tampax's first foray into that segment). Daniel Case (talk) 03:12, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

And it continues—with Playtex alleging false advertising against Tampax. Daniel Case (talk) 03:25, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

A trademark infringement suit brought by Playtex against a competitor whose "background" section has some nice facts about the plastic applicator and how well Playtex had done with it and the "Gentle Glide" trademark by the mid-'90s. Daniel Case (talk) 03:25, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

 Done Some really great info in there. CorporateM (Talk) 15:13, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the barnstar, but we're not quite done yet :-). I fixed the legal cites and I've found another source or two that can help us put the whole Tampax-Playtex rivalry into a narrative, which I think the history section could use. Basically, Playtex and the plastic applicator had not only managed to make it into Tampax's chief competitor, it had become so by capturing a the majority share of the teen market. Young women increasingly thought of Tampax as their grandmother's tampons, and all the things Tambrands did (brand extension, line extension ... things like introducing their own plastic applicator that didn't infringe Playtex's patent) just didn't work. Playtex continued to outsell them in the plastic-applicator segment and, if they couldn't reverse that they were fading away.

Until they got bought out by P&G in 1995. They really applied themselves (I'm sure with their new owner's expertise) to market research, doing lots of focus groups with teenage girls to find out what they really wanted out of a tampon.

The result was Satin Touch, which reversed that trend and basically answers the question "What would have happened if New Coke (to cite another brand article I've done a lot of work on) had worked as intended?" (the underlying issues are striking similar). Daniel Case (talk) 01:51, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Addendum: This is the subtext to Playtex's lawsuits over the last decade, especially the patent one. Daniel Case (talk) 01:53, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I have made most of these edits, and added some sources. Daniel Case (talk) 19:30, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Wow ... look at this much more detailed history of the company from fundinguniverse.com (Can we consider that site a reliable source? It suggests this is taken from an offline encyclopedia of company histories). Daniel Case (talk) 03:26, 1 May 2013 (UTC) I'm also beginning to wonder if we should have a separate "criticism" section. Another controversy involving ... again, yes, the tampons that occurred to me, and is alluded to in above link, was the tendency of so many plastic applicators to get flushed despite instructions to the contrary ... and then wash up on beaches after the waste was dumped out at sea, most famously the Jersey Shore. The New Jersey and Massachusetts legislatures actually considered banning plastic applicators as a result of this. Here's an old but good Philadelphia Inquirer article on this. I have also found a picture on Flickr that is, yes, free, and could illustrate this. Daniel Case (talk) 04:03, 1 May 2013 (UTC) And this is the patent at issue in the 2003 lawsuit. Since it's 1985, it's not the original one ... I'm trying to figure out which one is but it's hard since I can't seem to display the imaged pages. Daniel Case (talk) 05:26, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Except that Playtex opposed the bill, I think this has more to do with tampons generally than Playtex specifically and we don't normally include everything the company merely commented on, just the major aspects of their history. Can you link the Flickr image? Would save me the bother of getting another shot. CorporateM (Talk) 19:51, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
At the time Playtex dominated the plastic-applicator segment. Banning them would have affected them much more than Tampax. Daniel Case (talk) 17:16, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
I would like to do this, I think it's very relevant (Playtex didn't just oppose the bill, they took out ads saying "please don't flush these things") and I was living in New Jersey at the time. Daniel Case (talk) 05:23, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Also, that last sentence of the first graf of the Smilow section ... that wasn't meant to be editorializing, just a summary of what comes next. Daniel Case (talk) 17:18, 3 May 2013 (UTC) Alright, at this point I think, for me to give it the GA, we should do something about that table at the end of the article and the awkward whitespace it creates. I think we'd be better served with a list format, as that would allow us to discuss specific product lines as well as discontinued ones. Daniel Case (talk) 05:23, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Thanks. I also fixed some cite errors and read through the entire article to do some light copyediting throughout. I think it's a much more thorough article now thanks to your help. One other thing remains though, which is the picture that's scheduled to be deleted today for copyright reasons. My wife is still asleep right now, but when she wakes up, I'll see if she's up to dropping by a store while we're out for errands to do a more copyright-acceptable shot. CorporateM (Talk) 14:40, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
Alright. I've passed it. More things we can do for a possible future FA. I'll discuss it later. Daniel Case (talk) 05:06, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks! I took out the image that has copyright problems. I found a blog with some good pictures and am asking the owner if they are willing to donate one. CorporateM (Talk) 15:06, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
Done!! Just waiting for OTRS to process the permission. CorporateM (Talk) 19:42, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, I found that same site too. Of course, the box image would have been fine with a fair-use justification; however, I'd prefer one showing both lines of tampons and the feminine wipes that sit above them at the supermarket I shop at. (And maybe the new Fresh + Sexy post-coital wipes meant for both men and women (with an edgy ad campaign, too). But that will do until we can get the picture I'm thinking of. Daniel Case (talk) 06:06, 12 May 2013 (UTC)