Nothing says “I love you” like a place to blow your nose

9 Jan

Never have the functional and emotional discriminators of a product been more at odds than in Kleenex’s new Softness Worth Sharing campaign.

A little bit of history to set this up:

Kimberly-Clark Corporation, the manufacturer of Kleenex, introduced the disposable tissue in 1924 to help women remove makeup. Two years later, some focus testing made it clear that 60% of the participants used Kleenex tissue for blowing their noses. Excellent.

That’s History 101. Now on to Marketing 2011.

The new campaign encourages Joe and Jill Public to send a box of tissues for free to anyone in North America to show they care. Or, if they still care but are too lazy to get the box thing together, they can send a virtual tissue to someone’s inbox.

Naturally, this transpires on their Facebook page, where your loved ones hang out and we immediately know who’s feeling bunged up.

Ah but it’s more than a tissue you cold-hearted simpleton, you are thinking. It’s there to dry tears and provide comfort when you’re home alone with a cold.

That’s what Kimberly-Clark wants us to think. And I am not buying it.

As I understand it though, 860,000+ people have already sent boxes to their loved ones. In fact, maybe somewhere right at this moment, a teary-eyed mother is opening her door to a kindly post office employee with a free box of Kleenex tissues from her loving son. Or, if his love is less expansive, opening her inbox to a virtual tissue.

As I remove my finger from my throat, I can’t help but think no matter how hopefully Kimberly-Clark thinks their tissues are going to make the world a more loving place, they are really best for wet fingers and running noses.

Have been since 1924.

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4 Responses to “Nothing says “I love you” like a place to blow your nose”

  1. Brad January 9, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    I’ve got to agree with you here, Doug. I feel like Kleenex wants me to go on a hunt for sad people on Facebook and save them with a virtual tissue. The sender might feel good about him/herself, but if I was the receiver I would probably benefit more from a kind word or ‘Get Well Soon’ card than a pixelated box of tissues.

  2. dougbrowncreative January 9, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    Funny comment Brad. These virtual gifts, like beer and flowers and tissues, are complete duds with me. But, as Kleenex has noted, they are embraced by the “busy” (lazy) 21st century caring individual. Ever since Hallmark came along we have surrendered heartfelt in favour of expedient. This is just more of the same.

    I quite like the the telephone campaigns that encourage us to reach out and touch someone because they miss our voice. That resonates with me as authentic. This campaign is just manufactured by marketing. Boo.

  3. Catherine Novak January 9, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    Hear hear, Doug. I can’t for a million years imagine myself sending a box of Kleenex, real or virtual, to anyone. This just says “gimmicky” to me. At no level is it the same as a touch on the shoulder and one pulled out of a box by hand by your friend when you are having a good cry.

    This one blows.

  4. dougbrowncreative January 9, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    I guess Kimberly-Clark has always known that bodily fluids and popular mass-marketing make strange bedfellows so they decided to go for the emotional tug here. I’m not skewering the company, I just think it’s artificial. I laugh at the Charmin bears with their buns covered in pieces of toilet paper, but fat chance they will convince me to send a roll of toilet paper to my friends with diarrhea. Thanks for the comment Catherine – good last line!

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