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Kleenex Premieres Olympic Documentary "Let It Out"

If 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: "Buy Kleenex … Because Everything Else Blows."

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

PS – Check out the trailer for "Let It Out" 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 from August 14th.

To read more real athlete’s stories, visit Lenovo’s Voices of the Olympic Games (link to!

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Rohit is the author of 9 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.


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