Okay, there's a serious message coming, but I'll start this post off rather sophomorically by projecting myself back to the hallways of Sir Winston Churchill High, where Kleenex and other tissues were known by the male population of the school as "snot-rags."
That was the amount of respect we gave these squares of delicate paper. They were there to do a job, usually a most unpleasant one, and then unceremoniously tossed away. My crude-ish high school label aside, I suspect your feelings about the product weren't much different than ours.
Cut to last week's post about Knorr selling soup as colors, to the Pow!-generating tactic of Wearing Virgin Contact Lenses (the ability to look at something familiar as if you've never seen it before)...and maybe you'll find yourself smiling at Kleenex's new ad campaign, which sees it positioned as an emotional crutch.
I'm trying to track down the genesis of the idea, but one of its defining moments had to come, perhaps as the ultimate coincidence, in the late Randy Pausch's best-selling memoir "The Last Lecture," where he describes the moment of learning of his terminal diagnosis this way:
This ain't about wiping away bodily fluids any more; the "Let It Out" campaign tugs at the heartstrings and shows Kleenex to be an accessory to the more "touchy-feely" moments of our lives, both good and bad. This from the Kleenex site:
"Have you ever laughed until you cried?
Had a tear-filled hello or goodbye?
It's times like these when we just have to let it out™ — because it helps us feel better.
The Kleenex® brand invites you to let it out™ on this site."
That's just the beginning. A couple of clicks and you're on a page where you can "Experience The Release" of catalysts like Laugh, Cry, Love, Sing, Joy, Stuff, Scream and Blow (which is more about exploding than it is about expelling mucous from your nose). What's more, the company also lets you customize your own box to fit the occasions where you may act out one of the aforementioned catalysts.
Off-beat? Of course, but something's gotta be done for an iconic brand that not only has to overcome the genericization of its brand name, but a 5.9% sales decrease over the past year.
All this said, I am truly touched that a brand so massive is heeding the advice of Surprise Central.
I think I'm gonna cry...