For those who don’t know, there is a new movement afoot: “tissue box marketing,” whereby advertisements are placed on the side of tissue boxes, in the same way that “Missing” photos are placed on milk cartons.
… And if you believe that, let me tell you about this wonderful bridge I have for sale on the way into New York.
In reality, tissue box marketing describes ads that are highly emotional. The goal of these ads is not to simply sell you a product; oftentimes the ad has little to do with the product.
Here are three unrelated words that summarize a recent ad of this type: dog, horse, beer. Do you know which ad I’m referring to? If you said, “Oh, the puppy and the Clydesdale Budweiser ad” then, congratulations, you’ve been a victim of tissue box marketing. To see this ad again, or for the first time, here it is:
So, does this ad sell the product? Did you finish watching this commercial and immediately have the urge to run to the nearest suds distributor? The obvious answer is no. The commercial doesn’t talk about beer. As a product commercial, it would be more effective as a fencing spot than a beer spot. But the point of this type of commercial is not to sell the product.
The point is to sell an emotion that hopefully gets tied to the brand.
What was the happiest memory you can think of? How about the worst day ever? The time you’ve been most scared? Memory experts agree that the easiest memories for people to recall are those tied to a strong emotion. Tissue box marketing tries to create that strong emotion and link it to the brand in question. A successful tissue box marketing campaign will marry your experience with the company’s products to that emotion; you may even turn to their products when in search of that emotion.
So why is tissue box marketing a trend right now? Research shows that it is more effective at reaching Millennials than any other type of marketing. No one knows for sure why this is true; however, it’s believed that Millennials have built up walls in response to being constantly bombarded with advertising throughout their lives. As the theory goes, strongly emotional advertising is the only type that can break through these walls.
Given the amount of information the average person, Millennial or not, is consuming on a daily basis, this trend probably isn’t going anywhere. It may even need to become more and more emotional. Therefore, you might want to become familiar with tissue box marketing—just don’t start in the Kleenex aisle.