When did the customer stop being King?

What you need to know:

  • When Always recently received complaints from women about the quality of their pads, i was surprised by how fast they brushed them aside so quickly and instead employed online influencers to back up their product. Sanitary towels are actually a very sensitive subject to women.

After Always had a terrible experience with Kenyan women, they decided to roll out a new brand of pads that encapsulate an improvement on the previous ones they were flooding the Kenyan market with.

Granted, not everyone uses Always (although, statistically, most people who use pads in this country start with Always). And again, not everyone who uses Always suffers in the same way the people on the Twitter streets were suffering.

But the ones who were suffering were very loud about it. There were complaints of rashes, weird overly perfumed odours and general irritation.

Always decided that the first best thing to do was to get influencers to back up their product – which, by the way, was a terrible idea. That’s mistake 101 – gas-lit advertising. Don’t try and make it sound like the people who are complaining have no idea of what they’re talking about, and are part of a select few who are just complainers by nature. Don’t get people with larger followings who are sticking to the script of a brief defend your brand. Who thought that failure up?

Then, their next grand master plan was to roll out this new product.


As yet, I haven’t heard any rave reviews on the product yet, perhaps because the trust from the last public debacle is still lacking. Sanitary towels are actually a very sensitive subject to women – whether we are talking about the lack of towels, the offending taxes put on towels, the unavailability of towels (and tampons) or how bad the ones available are. Which is why it surprises me that Always brushed aside women’s concerns so quickly, and continue to do so.

Why do I say that they continue to do so? Because no one wants a new Always product – do they? I certainly don’t. I didn’t ask for a new repackaging or a whole different pad. No need to reinvent the wheel. All Kenyan women want is to be given sanitary products that match the quality of the ones that they are so willing to produce for first world countries. Surely we deserve at least that respect?

There are a number of reasons why they can say they are not doing this – perhaps it costs too much to manufacture. Or maybe distribution would be too complicated. But telling us this tripe that the quality is the same as it is abroad – when we have samples and testimonies to disprove this – is quite simply, taking us for fools.

Perhaps the global south is not much to the first world, but we can at least speak with our few shillings and not stand for this treatment. There are local brands that are readily available and willing to treat Kenyans like valued customers. Someone tell Always that almost doesn’t count. Someone tell Always that almost doesn’t count.

Twitter: @AbigailArunga