Greenpeace again shows its ability to use new media for public relations purposes by hijacking the Kimberley-Clark Kleenex Let It Out campaign, (created by ad agency JWT) which involves members of the public sitting on a blue sofa and shedding a tear into a tissue as they share personal stories.
Both the corporate and activist campaigns have involved YouTube videos (Kleenex US & UK versions). Greenpeace activists used this opportunity to express their sadness about the company’s policy of using paper from ancient forests. So far there have been 2,840 views of the Greenpeace video (in 2 days, which is about 10% of those viewing the official advert over the past couple of months).
BL Ochman says the campaign has the “heavy-handed touch of big agency cluelessness” and finds it offensive for its manipulation. But when faced by activists, Adrant asks “what could Kleenex (PR) people do? The entire promotion is all about providing people a platform to air their grievances.”
Exactly – which highlights the importance of asking “what if?” – wasn’t it predictable that someone would seek to “guerrilla” this campaign? Did neither the in-house team nor consultancy Ketchum consider the possibility? As the Greenpeace blog, Making Waves says:
It’s an absolute gift when companies who are being less than kind to the environment have an advertising campaign that, with a few tweaks, can be subverted to expose their dodgy deeds.
Adweek believes this campaign is part of a trend in using real people following the success of the Dove “Campaign for real beauty.” One ad exec is quoted: “Everything is going towards being more and more authentic, including the use of real people in commercials.” He fails to spot the irony in the inherent artifice of any advertising campaign.
Similarly the blog comments of marketing folk raving about the campaign lack any real world understanding – Fallon planning said: “I think its a great approach for Kleenex and a good attempt to take some category whitespace in a commoditized product environment.” (whatever that might mean), whilst “anonymous” of JWT responds:
Here was a vision of a product that wasn’t just a snot rag – it was an enabler of what makes us most human. It would take care of the symptoms of emotion so we could feel more deeply and experience life more fully.
The Greenpeace message regarding deforestation is more real world in my view than attempts to present a dirty tissue as an enabler of human emotional feelings.
I’m sure the campaign will be hailed a success – despite the actions of Greenpeace – although arguably the winners of the campaign are the Missouri band Starrfadu which has gained international attention as its track is used in the campaign.
[original source for this post: Peter Himler]