How to blow off customers – by Kleenex®

kleenexI was doing some industry reading today and came across a Kleenex® campaign that isn’t necessarily about selling more tissues, but about protecting their brand trademark. The banner ad and subsequent microsite actually tell (or scold) us that when using the word Kleenex, we need to use the Copyright ® after it.

The copy reads:

You don’t need a Social Security number to get your identity stolen.

When you spend nearly a century building a name that people know and trust, the last thing you want is people calling any old tissue a Kleenex® Tissue. Simply put, ‘Kleenex’ is a brand name and should always be followed by an ® and the word ‘Tissue.’ Please help us keep our identity ours.

I’m a little confused by this campaign, and what’s more, I don’t really like being lectured to by a brand. I guess products with this kind of ubiquity need to be careful what they wish for. By being so top of mind, they risk having consumers call their competition by their name. And this is a bad thing? I don’t think it has hurt products like Band Aid, Xerox or Google. Maybe Kleenex should just focus on being the best tissue on the market and keep their legal team out of the marketing department.


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