Kruger introduces new Scotties brand mascot

A launch campaign featuring Scottie the dog aims to reinforce the top-selling tissue brand's soft and strong positioning.


Kruger Products has introduced a new Scotties mascot through an integrated campaign aimed at reinforcing the soft and strong positioning of the country’s leading tissue brand.

The new brand icon, an adorable puppy by the name of Scottie, will be used across all of Scotties’ marketing channels, including TV, social, in-store promotion and packaging. The little dog  a West Highland Terrier (a Scottish breed), not a Scottish Terrier as the name suggests  has also been incorporated into a new brand logo that launched this month.

John St. is behind a spot introducing Scottie on TV and social media, with Lg2 working on a French adaptation for the Quebec market. While the commercial shows the little white pooch (“such a good puppy!”) sneezing and being all-round adorable, his larger purpose is to serve as a metaphor for a brand that is “always by your side, as soft as it is strong,” according to Kruger.

“We represent almost 50% of the trademark business in Canada, and we are always looking at doing something that is differentiated, that’s fresh, that’s new,” says Nancy Marcus, CMO at Kruger Products. “It’s an opportunity to have some fun, to really stimulate some more purchase intent and drive sales” in an otherwise low-interest category, she says.

Scotties’ previous mascot, Little Softie (pictured below), which continued to be used in merchandise and on product packaging throughout the early aughts, had not really been utilized in a few years, according to Marcus. Though the company continues to use a Softie mascot at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts curling championship, Kruger will look to phase that out over time, she says.

In looking for a new brand mascot, three different iterations of Scottie were considered, as well as a Scottish man in a kilt. But the latter was “quickly rejected” as being inappropriate for the Canadian brand, Marcus says. In the end, the chosen version of Scottie received an 84% approval rating for likeability and high purchase intent during a market research test. He also had strong resonance in Quebec. (Survey respondents skewed 80% female and were not all dog lovers, Marcus notes).

Softie“Not every one of our actions are researched to death,” she says. “We all knew intuitively that this was the right thing to do. And it has given us an opportunity to build our social media stories and highlight this sweet little dog.”

Speaking with strategy back in 2016, Marcus said research showed “consumers are tired of seeing a bear or a cat or a bunny. We’re talking to our consumers with intelligence and integrity.” However, she notes today that her comments pertained more specifically to the bathroom tissue category, in which Kruger is represented by a woman character with its Cashmere brand. “Did we think, ‘Oh, are we returning to the norm?’” she says. “It didn’t come from that. It was really how to reinforce the name Scottie.”

Over time, Scotties has moved towards using more stylish designs that buck the conventional pastel colours and flowers in an attempt to differentiate, as some 70% of tissue purchases are based on how the box will look once displayed in the home.

“We know that our range of boxes is attractive to customers,” she says. “It was critical that this icon would complement that.”

Today, more than 90% of shoppers buy tissues in multi-packs, meaning they aren’t choosing boxes based on individual designs. But packaging remains a critical component of their purchase decisions, according to Marcus.

It’s unclear how long it will take for consumers to begin associating Scottie with the brand, but Marcus says the change will be supported with ongoing communication aimed at bringing consistency across all touchpoints, including in-store messaging. Scottie is “not just a flash on the package. He’s not just a pretty puppy. This dog has to be part of the whole brand essence.”

Scottie-branded packaging began hits store shelves at retail, grocery, drug and warehouse club stores across Canada this month.

Strategic Objectives is supporting on PR.