Why Kruger recut ‘Unapologetically Human’ with new soundtracks

Kruger Products has recut its category defying “Unapologetically Human” TV creative for Canada’s large South Asian and Chinese communities.

The new ads combine existing footage from the original shoot with new music written specifically for consumers who speak Hindi/Urdu, Cantonese and Mandarin. Multicultural agency Ethnicity Matters oversaw the new creative, working with film director Bobby Singh Brown and musicians Qurram ‘Q’ Hussain for the Hindi/Urdu ad; Moulann for the Mandarin spot; and Will Wong for the Cantonese version.

The original masterbrand ad, which dropped in August, presented some of life’s messy moments—sad, joyous and sometimes just gross—with the implicit message that Kruger’s household tissue products are there to help clean up the mess.

“We may all be very different as humans, but at the end of the day, we all go to the bathroom, we all cry, we all bleed,” Kruger CMO Susan Irving told The Message at the time. “[I]nstead of talking about the product benefits and making the products a hero, this spot is all about humanity and making consumers the hero.”

The new creative retains those same unvarnished depictions of life’s little messes, but has been re-edited with some previously unused scenes and, most significantly, original music.

Diverse casting for the original shoot provided Ethnicity Matters with lots of original content to work with, said the agency’s partner and co-founder Bobby Sahni. “We dug through all those hours of footage to pick shots and scenes that would be better suited to the communities we are serving,” he said.

The real difference comes from the music, an essential component of the original spot’s emotional resonance, he said. “We knew that if we wanted to have that same sort of connection with Chinese and South Asian audiences, we needed music and lyrics that are really going to resonate with them.”

They looked at purchasing and licensing other tracks, but instead decided to work with local music talent to “reimagine” the music altogether. Hussain wrote the original song, which loosely translates to “Never give up, keep going” for Hindi and Urdu consumers. “[They’re] two different languages but for the most part the lyrics essentially mean the same thing in both,” said Sahni.

Moulann and Wong wrote new lyrics for Chinese viewers using the same music (see all three versions below.)

Diversity and inclusion became an important topic for many marketers in 2020, said Sahni. “Our hope is that it continues to be top of mind and something that they’re actually building in, versus bolting on to their marketing and advertising,” he said. It’s no longer enough just to translate and adapt or include diverse faces, he added. “It really is about connecting with cultural communities on an emotional level.”

While multicultural marketing can be strategically aligned with big masterbrand ideas, the execution has to be more nuanced in order to effectively connect with diverse audiences, said Sahni. “We need to look at things like the visual cues the music, the lyrics, that would be authentic and real to these communities.”

“We strongly believe in the power of multicultural marketing, and the importance of reimagining our communications to establish relevancy, cultural meaning, and authentic storytelling,” said Irving in a release. “We wanted Unapologetically Human’s multicultural adaptation to be equally, if not more compelling for its target audiences.

“That’s why we chose not to cut a single corner, and reimagined three new spots with original music and singers in three languages, and a complete re-edit of our footage.”

David Brown