In 1986, Kleenex released this commercial in Japan. It’s a simple, almost minimalistic premise: a woman in white and an ogre child sit on a pile of hay and enjoy their Kleenex brand tissues while the song “It’s a Fine Day” by Jane & Barton plays in the background.
Almost instantly, TV stations and Kleenex corporate allegedly began receiving complaints regarding the ad. Perhaps it was its overall strangeness, perhaps it was the minor key of the song, but people were almost ubiquitously unnerved by the commercial and requested that it be taken off the air.
As mass media is wont to do, the advertisement sparked a number of urban legends. Several rumors began to circulate about the cast. One claimed the entire film crew met untimely deaths in freak accidents. Another reported that the ogre child had died immediately after filming. Still others circulated that the actress, Keiko Matsuzaka, died, was committed to a psychiatric hospital following a mental breakdown, or became pregnant with a demon baby.
The song, in particular, seemed to unnerve people. Many asserted that “It’s a Fine Day” was a German curse, despite the fact that it was in English. Others claimed that when the ad came on late at night, the singer’s voice transformed from that of a young soprano to a raspy old woman’s.
Kleenex eventually pulled the ad and replaced it with this one, which was also arguably creepy, though didn’t inspire the urban legends that its predecessor had. Though none of those legends hold any weight (Matsuzaka is alive and well), you can’t say it wasn’t a successful ad campaign.
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