Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The only thing worse than being talked about is…?

Did you see this banner on adweek.com recently?

It leads to this somewhat overwrought expansion on the argument.

There are theories as to why Kleenex is spending good money on such an arcane message - essentially, creating a platform from which to launch any future trademark protection cases.

It set off a few other thoughts, though.

The people at Kimberly Clark are right - there’s a generic quality to tissue. Tissue is tissue is tissue. They want you to know that only Kleenex is Kleenex. (Sorry, only Kleenex Brand Tissue is Kleenex Brand Tissue.)

But, wait, we work hard to win our clients’ a place in culture. That’s supposed to be valhalla.

And here is a company wanting their name to be withdrawn from the conversation.

Is there another way at this for Kleenex?

Instead of lobbing the same old ’softness’ message at your customers. Why not involve the customers in this language debate? They care enough about the brand to use it as a descriptor in every day conversation. And the subject of brand name usage might just have enough pop cultural weirdness to it.

It contains that same little cultural/corporate/consumer collision that KFC had with their secret recipe, or that Lifesavers had with sparks in the dark.

When looking for cultural ideas, the place to start is with what people are already talking about - especially if it’s your product they’re talking about. Here is a twist on that story, and Kleenex is letting it go to waste.

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