Kruger gets more generous with its CSR

The company taps NHLers to extend "Rolling It Forward" as its short-term marketing investments shift to more community support.

After pulling some of its campaigns when the pandemic began, household paper company Kruger has been shifting its marketing to support those in need, tapping seven NHL players to help extend its #RollingItForward COVID-19 relief campaign.

Among the players joining the initiative are Toronto Maple Leafs’ defenceman Tyson Barrie, Vancouver Canucks’ forward Bo Horvat, and Winnipeg Jets’ forward Mark Scheifele. The seven NHLers are all making donations to Food Banks Canada and encouraging Canadian hockey fans to join in – be it through their own donations, or other acts of kindness.

Horvat, for example, asked his neighbour to join him and walk their dogs together. Montreal’s Phillip Danault encouraged his followers to help out one’s neighbours by picking up some extra groceries next time they go out shopping.

Susan Irving, CMO at Kruger, says the initiative is intended to celebrate acts of generosity of all sizes. She says that even though people are apart, things like reaching out to a neighbour, picking up groceries for that neighbour, making a phone call or organizing a Zoom chat with friends will help Canadians pull together through this time.

This is an extension of Kruger’s “Rolling It Forward” CSR initiative – which was conducted in association with Mercedes Benz to deliver Kruger tissue products to help hospitals in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

Last year, Kruger brand Scotties became the official tissue of the NHL. Even though the company did not have any major campaigns planned to activate the partnership, the opportunity to utilize the partnership to extend “Rolling It Forward” seemed like a natural move. Irving says Canadians are missing hockey right now – according to an Angus Reid Institute study, Canadians miss the NHL far more than any other sports league – and that the sport is still relevant at this time, making players an effective way to amplify the campaign.

“Hockey players want to do good,” she adds. “They want to show acts of kindness, and they want to do what they can to help encourage Canadians to do the same thing, because they’re feeling the same way as the rest of us.”

Even though “Rolling It Forward” is new, Irving says this builds on long-standing CSR efforts at Kruger, such as contributions to the Canadian Cancer Society through its Cashmere Collection since 2004, as well as being a sponsor for the Gutsy Walk for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.

“We believe that, as you build brands, it’s important for brands to give back,” Irving says. “Because at the end of the day, that’s what Canadians can relate to…is helping Canadians in need.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Irving told strategy that the spike in demand for its products at the retail level led to a number of changes to Kruger’s marketing. It suspended a campaign that had been in market for its Cashmere brand, as well as any creative that showed large crowds or gatherings and promotional advertising.

It did, however, keep airing campaigns that focused on family living, as those were appropriate given how much time people were spending at home with their families, and elevated corporate-level messaging. In a conference call for its Q1 results earlier this month, Kruger CEO Dino Bianco said short-term marketing was being revised to focus more on connecting with those in need during the crisis and connecting with the current needs of its consumers. Even though its full-year plans were in the process of being revised to better reflect changes to its activities and the mood of consumers, he said the company plans to maintain its overall marketing and brand investment to continue the momentum behind gains in market share over the last two months.

Beyond the initial PR push beyond “Rolling It Forward,” Kurger is working with agency and media partners to create broadcast spots and a paid social boost. Kruger is also making a $200,000 donation to The Frontline Fund, a coalition of more than 160 hospital foundations across the country developed to deliver resources to frontline healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19.