Kleenex 'Lets It Out,' But Don't You Try

People just want to be heard. Show someone you're a willing listener and they'll be happy to spill their guts, ending in tears of happiness or grief. Naturally, you'll hand them a Kleenex. O.K., a facial tissue. But in any case, Kimberly-Clark's got the lock on emotional advertising that keeps you coming back for more.

In 60-second spots by JWT that are airing nationally on TV and in movie theaters, Kleenex's "Let It Out" campaign brings viewers face to face with individuals telling interesting anecdotes that sometimes end in tears. Fortunately, there is a box of Kleenex at the ready.

The campaign launched Jan. 1 in the U.S. and the U.K. It invites viewers to go to letitout.com, but there is no way to actually "let it out" when you get there. Kimberly-Clark did not return phone calls to help explain why.

"Let It Out" is part of a trend among marketers to go the distance. At the Web site, which invites visitors to provide an email address to keep informed of developments on it, the company says it is "dedicated to finding all kinds of ways to help people let it out"."



Earlier this year, Procter & Gamble invited women to share secrets on the Secret deodorant Web site and received 25,000 replies. Several videos there document what appear to be real people sharing real secrets with each other.

Action in the Kleenex ads takes place on a strikingly blue sofa that has been parked all over England. In the British version, which can be seen on You Tube, a man invites passersby to stop "for a chat." which leads to shot after shot of people expressing the full range of emotions but no specific stories (there's even a group hug) and ends in a screen shot of the product name. At letitout.com, this week's feature is called "When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?" and stars a woman, apparently in New York, who tells the interviewer about her wedding day. Afraid she would ruin her makeup by crying, she decided to distract herself with odd thoughts as she walked down the aisle. "I'm like, dead puppies, dead puppies!" Watch for "dead puppies, dead puppies" to become a catch phrase if the ad takes off.

The catchy tune called "Let It Out" that plays in the background is by Indie rock band Starrfadu. Careful, it tends to stick in the mind like a ... well, a wet Kleenex to a shoe.

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