Kruger shows its value in all of life’s moments

The paper company moves from "we're in this together" to "we've always been here for you" as consumer sentiment shifts.

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Kruger is highlighting the role the brand’s products play in Canadians’ lives – from cleaning up messes, to going to the bathroom – in a new masterbrand campaign.

“Unapologetically Human” – a multi-brand campaign for Cashmere, Purex, SpongeTowels and Scotties – launched on Monday, and highlights the theme of “humanity” and how “we all cry, make a mess, step in gross stuff, have snot, bleed, use the bathroom” and how Kruger products, like Scotties’ tissues or SpongeTowels, are there to address those situations.

The campaign consists of a 90-second online film and a 60-second TV spot, along with 15-second spots focusing on each of its Cashmere, Purex, SpongeTowels and Scotties brand in both English and French. It also features social ads on Facebook and Instagram.

According to Susan Irving, CMO at Kruger Products, the plan was “always” a masterbrand spot, having done one last year touting its status as having the top brands across several categories among Canadian households.

However, Irving says there’s a growing consumer sentiment of wanting and understanding the value and purpose a brand’s products have in customers’ lives, making the “Made in Canada” campaign “not right from a tone perspective.”

Irving says advertising in the household paper category has been very product-specific and focused on an item’s functionality. “Our products are far and away products that are used every day, and in every single aspect of life,” she says. “The difference from other categories and other brands that are leveraging a human approach…I can’t think of a better brand that can actually tell that story.”

Kruger pulled back all of its media campaigns at the outset of the pandemic and “did everything we could,” Irving says, to ensure it had products on shelves for customers, as things like toilet paper shortages were a constant concern amidst panic-buying and keeping up with demand became a top business challenge. But she says that the brand has “definitely caught up” with demand, namely by re-opening and recommissioning old production lines that were previously shut down.

Now, panic buying is less of a concern, and Irving says messages aiming to rally Canadians together were becoming less relevant than they were in the spring, resulting in putting the focus back on its value proposition in a way that has emotional relevance. Due to a mix of availability and financial concerns, private label brands – typically Kruger’s biggest competition in categories where it tends to dominate market share – have begun to surge in popularity with consumers, but research suggests that trust in a brand is the biggest thing that will get them to stick with name brands.

“Everyone’s saying, ‘we’re in this together.’ What we did differently is that we’re reminding Canadians that despite our differences, we are all human,” Irving says, noting how humans all go to the bathroom, cry and bleed. “What unites us all are the basic needs in life – to live and to love…we are so very fortunate that our brands get to support all of those moments and memories.”

The campaign was created on a project basis by Broken Heart Love Affair, with media by Wavemaker.