The functional becomes emotional


An iconic brand with declining sales and eroding meaning.

The problem seemed unsolvable: reverse a nearly 15-year sales decline in a category where retail facings were shrinking, resulting from years of functionally driven “cold-and-flu”-centric communications, leading to eroding sales numbers quarter after quarter. The once category-defining Kleenex had become an empty vessel, a brand with high awareness but limited emotional resonance with moms and millennials.

Kleenex animated logo


Turn sniffling into a moment to care about.

The answer wasn’t about what was in the box; it was about what was in the consumer’s heart. We looked into the target segment and found a rich emotional dimension that the brand had an opportunity to capture: millennials’ altruism and moms’ deep desire for their children to grow up in a world with greater humanity and capacity to care for people. So we began by reframing the Kleenex narrative from a functional wiping tool or “sick box” into the means of delivering a simple gesture of care. The campaign idea of “Someone needs one” dramatized the role of a single tissue in the hands of two people, and led to diverse stories of personal connection—making an statement that humanity can be enriched through empathy, openness and thoughtfulness.

Our work included

  • Brand strategy
  • Campaign activation
  • Broadcast television
  • Digital advertising
  • Social media
  • Out-of-home advertising
  • Content strategy
  • Video production
  • Brand identity
Gif gallery of videos showing gestures of care for Kleenex