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Kleenex’s New Content Might Actually Make You Cry

By Carly Miller February 25th, 2016

Make sure you have a box of tissues close by. Last week, Kleenex released a beautifully poignant video, showing how brands can win by telling stories that promote a company’s values instead of its products.

Kleenex’s YouTube channel includes a number of heartfelt interview-style montages about individuals overcoming emotional challenges, associating its image with true stories of empathy, care, and love. But the brand wins major marketing points for its newest video, “A Caring Chorus,” which documents former students reuniting with their Chicago music teacher and orchestrating a surprise performance in her honor.

The video builds up to the moment of surprise when the teacher, Gabrielyn Watson, walks down the hall and one of her old students comes around a corner singing “Amazing Grace.” As more students file into the hallway, adding layers to the harmony, Watson’s response changes from elated surprise to tears of gratitude to ringing laughter. Kleenex hit all the right points on the emotional scale, and the surprise plays well on camera.

Rather than explicitly plugging the tissues, Kleenex lets the narrative carry the weight of the ad. Watson and her students briefly use tissues to wipe away their tears; by then, the viewers are probably crying too. Even Kleenex’s tagline, “We all have a voice inside, and the best teachers help us find it,” articulates the well-executed content strategy at play.

This video, which already has close to 2 million views, is a strong example of a growing trend in content marketing: relying on genuine stories that embody the brand. Last year, for instance, Contently Editor-in-Chief Joe Lazauskas wrote about the similar appeal of Fisher Price’s video celebrating babies born close to New Year’s Day.

It just goes to show that brands have so much room to move past traditional commercials that are either too safe or too aggressive. Here, Kleenex tells a simple story that has a universal appeal. Ideally, it’ll make you laugh, cry, and eagerly await the next video.

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