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Kleenex ‘Let it Out’ Campaign: Increasing Consumer Involvement with a Low-involvement Product This case was written by Debapratim Purkayastha, ICMR Center for Management Research (ICMR). It was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. 2009 ICMR Center for Management Research
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￼￼￼￼￼￼Kleenex „Let it Out‟ Campaign: Increasing Consumer Involvement with a Low-involvement Product “Kleenex, selling the (let’s face it) boring product of facial tissue, has managed to create a major brand boost with its “Let it out” campaign. What’s the hook? Emotional branding... Kleenex has taken a boring product and, by focusing on the emotional experiences people have when interacting with that product, created a much stronger brand presence.”1 - Cairril.com Design & Marketing2, in 2007.
Banking on the euphoria associated with the Olympic Games in the US, Kimberley-Clark Corporation (K-C), a leading American consumer packaged goods company, released a documentary movie to coincide with the Beijing Olympics in 2008. The movie sought to build an emotional connect between K-C‟s superbrand Kleenex and the target audience and was part of its „Let It Out‟ (LIO) campaign launched at the end of 2006 to rejuvenate the brand. According to Mark Zander, Marketing Manager for UK and Ireland, Kleenex, “The idea behind the „Let It Out‟ campaign is to try and create an emotional affinity between the consumer and Kleenex tissues. By establishing this emotional bond we hope to make the tissue much more than just a product but rather an indispensable aid to help people let their emotions out.”3 The LIO campaign was appreciated by many advertising experts for its use of real people4 in its ads and for its attempt to increase consumers‟ involvement with the brand. Launched in December 2006, the LIO campaign was aimed at promoting Kleenex, the brand name used for several of K- C‟s products such as facial tissues, bathroom tissues, paper towels, and diapers. It was introduced in 1924 and had remained at the top position in the facial tissue market since then. K-C had introduced several innovative products under the Kleenex brand and had adopted good promotional strategies to keep the brand in the number one position. The brand was so successful that it became synonymous with facial tissue products and was even included in several standard dictionaries as a common noun. The brand identity was so strong and so often used interchangeably with the commodity that it had to promote itself as the „Kleenex brand‟. “[Kleenex is] encouraging the addition of the term “tissue” or “brand tissue” to their name. It‟s the “Kleenex brand” of tissues; tissues being the generic term. They clearly spent plenty of money just to define the category and protect their brand name. This should serve as a good example to start- ups out there who think they want their name to become generic. It‟s a good problem to have in the beginning. But it‟s also a problem you never want to have once you‟re big and famous!”5 said Aaron Hall, Project Director, Catchword6. 1 “Is your business boring? Let It OutTM!” www.cairril.com, April 2007. 2 Cairril.com Design & Marketing is a Bloomington, Indiana, USA-based brand consultancy firm. 3 “Kleenex to Let It Out with Starrfadu,” www.duncans.tv, January 10, 2007. 4 The term „real people‟ is used to refer to people who were non-models. 5 Aaron Hall, “Kleenex Fights Being...
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