Kleenex’s Paper Dresses campaign has been plodding along nicely since its launch in 2009, demonstrating just how dextrous Kiwi fashion students can be with masses of toilet paper. This year's campaign, however, has upped the ante thanks to a collaborative effort between Ogilvy, Kimberly-Clark and TVNZ that seeks to directly engage and interact with the mainstream public over the course of nine months.
Jason Biggs, senior brand manager at Kimberly-Clark, says the aim was to broaden the exposure and appeal of Paper Dresses and create audience engagement in Kleenex Cottonelle toilet paper’s ‘supplier partner’ sponsorship of New Zealand Fashion Week.
The competition has traditionally involved top students from NZ Fashion Tech fashioning dresses from Kleenex toilet paper, the top three showcasing their wares on the runway of New Zealand Fashion Week. And, if you’re trying to get the message across that your particular brand of toilet paper is both soft and strong, which the Kleenex Cottonelle brand is, crafting wearable dresses from the white strips isn’t a bad way to do that. But this year, to really drive home that message, Kimberly-Clark, TVNZ and Ogilvy sought an execution that would speak to the brand’s target audience across a more diverse range of channels.
To do that, they created three stages of an integrated advertising, sponsorship, online and PR campaign running from February to October — the result of which, Biggs believes, has "made the story even more relevant to a wider audience".
The first stage ran from March to May and involved the Kleenex Cottonelle brand sponsoring the final season of Desperate Housewives in a bid to reset the conversation it was having with the market.
From May to September, nine mini webisodes charting the journey of three of the designers are being shot, available to view online at TVNZ. Some have also been cut down into 30 second spots for television. Viewers of Good Morning and Breakfast will also have noticed a few extra plugs for the campaign.
Media solutions business development manager at TVNZ, Jodine Small, says Ogilvy and Kimberly-Clark came to TVNZ early with the concept and they worked together to come up with a series of nine 30-second programettes that followed the highs and lows of three students as they embarked on the challenge.
“We shot it in a documentary style and drove viewers to longer-form content at a custom built minisite housed within tvnz.co.nz. The result is an entertaining series where the viewer is engaged with the brand throughout the journey of each student."
Small adds the programettes have succeeded in building a new conversation platform for Kleenex Cottonelle by giving it a point of difference in what she describes as a”low-involvement but highly competitive category”.
Ogilvy group account director, Simon Wedde, says the secret of great communication has always been brands that tell compelling stories and stand for something, and he reckons Paper Dresses does both.
"This was a huge personal journey for these young designers, so the documentary style Gina and the TVNZ team adopted was the perfect way to let their stories unfold," he says. "This is a fresh approach to an intriguing, non-traditional advertising idea, so partnering with TVNZ was a perfect fit."
As part of its public engagement strategy, this year the public can go online and vote on their favourite dress from the three finalists, when the last three episodes of the ad campaign go to air this Sunday. Those finalists are Aucklanders Kapi Fonua and Kei Ho, and Wellingtonian Tanya Jeffrey.
As in previous years, the little white numbers from the three finalists will be showcased on the runway of New Zealand Fashion Week in September. Further driving the public’s engagement, this year one voter will win a pampered weekend at New Zealand Fashion Week.
The third and final stage of the campaign crops up in October with the airing of the final TVC of one of the dresses and the sale on Trade Me of a cloth replica of the winning dress. Supermarket sampling activity will be aligned with this stage.
Small says content integration is becoming more widely requested and accepted.
“We’re seeing new levels of integration into international and local shows and also creating specific content for brands. Great brands understand that the magic of television is in the storytelling which goes straight to the heart of viewers. And television is not just on one screen anymore – it’s on your computer, tablet or mobile.”