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Barry Hall asks Australians to ‘soften up’ in Kleenex campaign

One of Australia’s hardest men – Barry Hall – is urging Australians to find their softer sides this winter, in a new Kleenex Facial Tissues brand campaign developed by J. Walter Thompson.

Launching this week, the campaign unveils a new, masterbrand positioning for the entire Kleenex Facial Tissues range, and aims to break a common association with illness (particularly in the cold and flu season) and remind Australians that ‘what’s in the box’ matters at all life’s moments.

To communicate the message and inspire Australians to ‘Soften Up’ with Kleenex, ex-AFL champion and notorious hard guy, Barry Hall has been engaged as a hero soft advocate across all campaign executions.

Spearheaded by a series of three television commercials which show Hall unashamedly demonstrating strong emotions in three situations, the campaign also comprises of online video and social content and a large-scale radio partnership, including radio street team activations in Sydney.

“Barry Hall was the perfect Australian tough guy to communicate the new brand point-of-view and make Kleenex Tissues synonymous with emotional softness, not just functional softness. He’s a real life ‘hard nut’ turned soft advocate, giving others permission to give in to their emotions and experience the benefits,” said Simon Langley, ECD at J. Walter Thompson.

Dominique Chandler, Marketing Sector Lead, Family Care at Kimberly Clark said the creative approach was driven by research that showed that Australians are a pretty tough bunch, with 71 per cent of us admitting we still hide our emotions.

“While there’s often a taboo around displaying too much emotion, we know from our research that being open can help us lead happier lives,” Ms Chandler said.

“As our country’s softest tissue, we want to inspire Australians to Soften Up, experiencing how good it feels for themselves, and for everyone it touches. We’re excited about Barry’s role in the campaign and this new position for the brand,” she added.

Other ‘Soften Up’ campaign elements include PR, Radio partnerships, brand activations, sampling, shopper, website refresh, and social support on owned channels. Strategy, creative and campaign leadership were all provided by J. Walter Thompson.