The product as bit player in a larger human drama is an interesting soft-sell advertising approach which, when done right, can cast the brand in an appealingly humble light—even if, at the same time, it runs the risk of the product appearing less than central to our everyday existence.
Ikea walks this line pretty well. And so does Kruger, the paper products company in Canada. At the height of COVID in 2020, it released a spot from agency Broken Heart Love Affair that bore witness to the messiness of life—at a time when paper products were proving fairly critical indeed.
Now, BHLA returns with a new epic anthem—similar idea, but against the backdrop of love. Which can get exceedingly messy at time, in all senses of the word.
The agency and client say the campaign addresses nothing short of “what it means to be human”—in a way they believe is unusual in advertising.
“Very few brands are still willing to tell the truth of life. They want to manufacture a version of life with a sense that everyone is happy and that everything is OK,” said Jay Chaney, BHLA partner and chief strategy officer. “That may be true, but it also may not. I give Kruger Products huge credit for being a little bit more real about the experience of being human.”
“The whole campaign is about vulnerability, and nothing in the human experience is more vulnerable and messier than love,” added Denise Rossetto, partner and chief creative officer. “The first campaign set up what the brand stands for, and we’ve branched out with the second campaign to go deeper into what it means to be human.”
Building a brand rather than pushing product benefits is surely a smart strategy is a category where products can easily feel interchangeable. And BHLA certainly excels at these kinds of big-emotion-with-product-in-the-background type of productions.
“When we first launched ‘Unapologetically Human’ at the height of the pandemic, we wanted to spotlight the messy, important moments that make us all human. Our goal was to show the ways in which consumers use our products, whether it’s wiping away tears or cleaning up messes, demonstrating how these experiences unite us all as humans,” said Susan Irving, CMO at Kruger Products. “This sentiment carries forward into this campaign. We wanted to be real about love in all its forms, from the toughness of heartbreak and thrill of first love to the softness and strength of enduring relationships. Our paper products serve as steadfast companions throughout the spectrum of human emotions, supporting individuals in moments of passion, sadness and joy.”