CASSIES Silver: SpongeTowels woos Quebecers

A comedic mascot named Spongie helps build the Kruger Products brand after its name change, in this campaign by Saint-Jacques Vallée Y&R.
Microsoft Word - SpongeTowels_TV spots.doc

SILVER: Sustained Success

Situation Analysis: In 1997, Kruger acquired Scott Paper Limited (Canada), but Kimberly-Clark (which had bought out Scott Paper in the U.S.) retained the rights to the ScotTowel name. They licensed it to Kruger in Canada, but this would end in 2007. So, in preparation, Kruger went through a major transition exercise. They renamed ScotTowels as SpongeTowels, and now had the challenge of creating a new brand. The main competitors were Bounty and Cascades, and Scott Towels itself, which came back on the market in 2007 as a Kimberly-Clark brand.
Strategy & Insight: The name SpongeTowels had been inspired by the product’s unique embossing pattern, which featured “sponge pockets.” These added strength and absorbency and this was a key difference vs. competitors. How could this be turned into a long-term campaign that would increase sales and win Quebecers’ hearts?

Execution: The answer came from creating Spongie – an advertising character who would personify the absorbency advantage. He was played by François Massicotte, a popular stand-up comic, and in January 2008 he became the ally that you can always rely on. TV spots have shown exaggerated incidents that needed his intervention, such as a plumbing mishap, a baby to change, and a leaking waterbed – all dramatizing absorbency.

Results: In 2007, SpongeTowels and Bounty were virtually neck and neck in Quebec, with share in the 18.5% range. By 2010, SpongeTowels had taken over as leader at 20.4%, while Bounty was static at 18.6%. SpongeTowels also increased sales volume by 12% over this period, achieved despite decreasing media investment by 39%.

Cause & Effect: Advertising recall and association was consistently stronger for SpongeTowels than for Bounty, and despite the decline in media spend the brand attributes ratings remained high, with absorbency taking the highest score. Other variables such as pricing, sales promotion, distribution and in-store display were in line with normative levels.


Kruger Products
corporate VP of consumer marketing: Nancy Marcus
category director, paper towels & White Swan: Wendy Mommersteeg

Saint-Jacques Vallée Y&R (2010)
VP corporate affairs and development: Suzanne Bourret
CD: Daniel Poirier
AD: Carole Plante
copywriter: Annie Chevalier
senior account executive: Vicky Maxwell

Palm + Havas (2006-2009)
president and CEO: Ann Bouthillier

Click here to return to the list of winning cases