Kruger Soaks Up the Everyday Drama in This Cinematic Ad for Its Paper Products

A surprisingly absorbing :90 from Broken Heart Love Affair

Tears of joy and heartache. Spilled drinks. Dirty diapers. Nosebleeds. Soiled floors when that adorable puppy makes an unfortunate … mistake.

Sometimes life gets messy, and we need to clean things up.

Such everyday drama informs "Unapologetically Human," the first campaign for Canadian paper-products company Kruger from ad shop Broken Heart Love Affair. This 90-second film directed by Mark Zibert anchors the push, which aims to transcend category conventions with a cinematic, heartfelt appeal:

Unapologetically Human | Kruger Products

Set to the bold baritone of Rag 'N Bone Man's "Human," the spot's memorable montage of messes reminds us of the oft-overlooked role that paper towels, TP and facial tissue play in our lives.

"Many ads seek to find the product story and then create interesting ways for consumers to care," Jay Chaney, partner and strategy chief at Broken Heart Love Affair, tells Muse. "In this ad, we express the consumer's story and find a truthful way for the products to fit into that world."

"Unapologetically Human" marks the first work from the agency since its March formation, and feels in step with Covid-era reality, as more folks spend time at home.

"We're in a moment in time where our humanity and collective vulnerability is staring us in the face and we needed to be true to that experience," says Chaney. "Yes, it's challenging, but our human vulnerability is also incredibly beautiful."

Denise Rossetto, agency partner and chief creative officer, believes the approach can break through because it flips the script on moments often viewed as "shameful," casting them instead in a more understanding light.

"We are not perfect. None of us, that is universal," she says. "We loved that, and the idea led to the execution. We wanted a raw, real, beautiful expression of life."

Zibert, renown for his powerhouse SickKids spots and quirky efforts for Ikea, shot the Kruger footage over three days in Vancouver, using real people as subjects to achieve a documentary feel.

"We asked Mark to elevate our idea with his storytelling," says Carlos Moreno, also a partner and CCO at the shop. "He tells so much through his visuals. Originally we had so many more supers, but Mark was able to capture all this feeling without overexplaining it. He didn't just shoot vignettes—he took us on a journey."

During filming, that journey got a tad mischievous at times.

"The little guy with the red hair was so jacked up on sugar that he was a riot the whole time," Chaney recalls of one sequence. "He loved the process, and each take when he was jumping in the bathtub got crazier and crazier. Seeing the joy on his face had the crew and client in stitches the entire shoot."

The ad's French-language version features "Passer a l'ouest" by Quebec singer Dumas:

Humains avant tout | Produits Kruger
CREDITS

Title: Unapologetically Human

Client: Kruger

Chief Marketing Officer: Susan Irving
Vice President Bathroom Tissue: Stephen Blythe
Vice President Sustainability & US Marketing: Steven Sage
Corporate Director, Marketing: Oliver Bukvic
Corporate Director, Marketing: Kristina Koprivica

Agency: Broken Heart Love Affair
Creative Team:  Carlos Moreno, Denise Rossetto, Todd Mackie
Strategy: Jay Chaney
Agency Producer: Erica Metcalfe

Production Company: Scouts Honour
Director: Mark Zibert
Executive Producers: Rita Popielak, Simon Dragland
Line Producer: Matt MacLennan
Director of Photography: Mark Zibert, Eric Kaskens
Additional Photography: Chris Woods

Casting: Jigsaw/Shasta Lutz

Editorial: Married To Giants
Editor: Graham Chisholm

Color: Alter Ego
Colorist: Wade Odlum

VFX and Finishing: The Vanity/Sean Cochrane

Audio House: Vapor Music
Audio Director/Producer: Joey Serlin

Song - "Human" (Jim Eno Sessions)
Artist Rag'n'Bone Man

French Music Supervision/ Music Rights Clearance: Francois Lechance
Agency Team: Joline Matika, Mae Thomas

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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