Target Welcomes Huggies Special Delivery Premium, Plant-Based Diapers

Cyndi Loza
Associate Editor, Path to Purchase Institute
Cyndi Loza profile picture

Packaged in boxes depicting black-and-white photographs of parents and their babies against a bold black background, Kimberly-Clark's new Huggies Special Delivery premium diapers stand out in a category full of pastels, whites and soft colors. In partnership with Target, a program incorporating the brand's unique creative spotlights the new diapers in stores, online and through unique, Minneapolis-area experiential events. 

Huggies boasts its Special Delivery line is: 

  • Huggies' softest diaper ever, 
  • made with responsibly sourced, plant-based materials, 
  • free of parabens, fragrance and elemental chlorine, and
  • dermatologically tested and clinically proven hypoallergenic for a baby's delicate skin.

"Over the past few years, the diaper category has evolved quite a bit because of changing consumer needs, which is great – but until now, there has still been a segment of parents that haven’t been able to find a diaper that has the trifecta of softness, free-of’s, and trusted protection," K-C's Brett Conway, senior brand manager-shopper marketing, Target team, told the Path to Purchase Institute. "Huggies Special Delivery … delivers on those needs and takes the diaper category to a whole new level. It’s one of those things where the second you see it and feel it, you know right away that this diaper is unlike any other premium diaper on the market."

Huggies Special Delivery diapers began rolling out to select retailers nationally on June 26 and hit Target on July 21, the week the mass merchant had its in-store baby department reset. 

Partnering with Target

From the start, Huggies knew Target would be a critical retail partner for the launch of its most premium diaper because of the huge overlap in the brand's consumer and shopper segments, Conway said. Target shoppers, he explained, have high demands of their products, look to the retailer for inspiration, love newness and tend to shop more premium SKUs in categories such as beauty. “It’s those types of CPG categories that just do really well at Target," said Conway, citing Welly Health PBC's vibrant and colorful first-aid brand Welly as an example. "… It’s [shoppers] that are willing to pay more for things that kind of overdeliver on their expectations.” 

Millennial moms are the majority target consumer, but the market is more than just moms, Conway said. Thus, dads and their babies are being depicted in Special Delivery marketing materials and — for the first time in Huggies history — on diaper boxes. “We’re featuring a lot of dads," he said, "and what’s exciting is Target is doing that, too." 

When Huggies approached Target, the program was only half-baked — a different approach from past K-C collaborations. "I’m genuinely proud of how Kimberly-Clark and Huggies handled this versus prior years," Conway said.

"I think oftentimes, me and my peers in the industry, we feel like we have to go in to a retailer like Target with a really buttoned-up strategy, product proposition, marketing plan to impress and to get them excited and make them feel like we’re on it, but what was different about this go around was that we brought Target on earlier. So it was less of a fully baked plan and it was more of a 'Hey we’re about 50/60% of the way there. We want to engage you guys and get your thoughts,'" Conway said. 

As a result, Huggies discussed diaper and packaging designs with Target and received feedback and ideas that could still be implemented, Conway said: "I think really it’s just as simple as bringing them in farther upstream so it was more of a collaboration and partnership in developing it rather than, 'Hey, here's what we have. Let's activate at Target.'"

The Marketing Plan

At more than 600 of Target's 1,844 stores, Huggies Special Delivery diapers enjoy secondary merchandising space on an endcap (via Minneapolis-based Knock Inc.) outfitted with a black header communicating the diaper is new at Target. "Between the marketing elements on the endcap and the packaging, it’s just so dark and different that we’re excited to … stop [shoppers] in their tracks," said Conway. Shelf tags in stores will also communicate that the diapers are new at the retailer.

Huggies additionally is hosting two, Target-branded experiential events in downtown Minneapolis — the mass merchant's hometown — and nearby Edina, MN, to support the launch. The events will include a truck that has been converted into a mobile portrait studio for a photographer to take black-and-white photographs of families, reflecting Special Delivery's packaging. Participants will receive copies of the photographs to share on social media or print at home. Scheduled for Aug. 8 and 10, the events will also serve as a place to learn more about the new diaper and take samples. (Check back with later this month for a full gallery of images from the downtown Minneapolis event.)

The idea for the event was developed after brainstorming with Geometry's experiential team and came out of the insight that to new parents — especially Millennial parents — beautiful photography of their little ones is important, Matthew Hiltner, Geometry account director, told the Institute. “That’s such a huge opportunity," Hiltner said, "and something to really lean in to knowing that the parents that we're going after are those Millennial, premium [shoppers]."

About 6-10 of the photographs taken at the events will be selected to be depicted within Huggies Special Delivery ads on digital billboards positioned near the Target Center arena and Target Field baseball park in August and September.

The overall marketing plan also includes:

  • a Huggies landing page on, 
  • banner ads and sponsored social media posts (via Target's in-house media company Roundel), 
  • in-store sampling (via Advantage), and
  • email marketing (executed by News America Marketing with creative from Geometry).

NOTE: For more images of Huggies Special Delivery's launch at Target, visit Path to Purchase Institute members have access to more than 6,840 images and 1,240 articles of marketing and merchandising activity at Target, along with a full Retailer Profile outlining the chain’s operations and strategies.