Kleenex Premieres Olympic Documentary “Let It Out”
Guest Post By Rohit Bhargava

you are one of those people that gets in front of the television every
evening with a box of tissues to get ready for the melodramatic
overload that is the American television coverage of the Olympics, then
you’ll be thrilled to know that as part of their sponsorship of the US
Olympic team, Kleenex commissioned a documentary to take an inside look
at some of the most powerful tear-jerking moments in the Olympics over
the past few years. The film is mostly focused on the US (to match
their sponsorship) and takes you on a hosted journey with a nameless
host who plays the part of “good listener” as past and future hopeful
US Olympic athletes are interviewed on a blue couch about their Olympic
moments and aspirations.

I had the chance yesterday to go the film premiere at the USA House
here in Beijing and it was a well attended affair with lots of
recognizable US Olympians, including Julie Foudy, Scott Hamilton, Lenny
Krayzelburg, and a few others (see my photos on Flickr). The venue was
“homebase” for USOC team members and lots of American gear was
available for sale. It was the perfect venue for the premiere and a
well put together event. The film itself is a really nice piece of
branded entertainment and does well to promote the role of Kleenex
brand in the Olympics and in each of our lives, encouraging people to
“let it out” without being overly branded. Great job by brand manager
Anya Schmidt and the rest of the Kleenex team to keep the branding soft
on this project.

I am a fan of Kleenex brand, but I do think that they have a larger
strategic problem that likely won’t be solved by a campaign like this
or even through an Olympic sponsorship. One of their biggest challenges
surely must be the commoditization of their brand. The fact is, people
call every kind of tissue a Kleenex. They own the category, but need to
continually explain to people why it matters that you buy Kleenex
instead of the cheaper store brand. Just once I would love to see them
take the road of comparing their brand’s superiority to cheaper
imitations. I can already picture the thirty second spot. Guy and girl
on a first date go to see a sappy movie. Girl is crying and guy tries
to be smooth by handing her a “Kleenex.” She blows her nose, the tissue
rips and she messes up her expensive “first date dress.” The ad ends
with her looking at him angrily as the tagline fades in: “Kleenex …
Because Everything Else Blows.”

Damn, I’m good. I should do this for a living.

PS – Check
out the trailer for the film below – its actually really good and will
be premiering for a limited engagement in theaters in 25 cities
starting August 13th across the US. It will also be available on www.letitout.com from August 14th.