With the cold and flu season round the corner, Kleenex has created a tool for US consumers to predict when their sneezing will start to let them stock up with tissues well in advance.
The brand is preparing to roll out My-Achoo.com, which, according to Kleenex Brand Manager Anna Elledge is a proprietary forecasting model using data from the US Centers for Disease Control .
My-Achoo.com starting later this month will not just show where flu germs already are - like Google Flu Trends or the Cold-FX app - Elledge says it will predict where germs will strike within the next three weeks . Preliminary tests suggest the tool is 90% accurate, she said.
New TV spots will show show the consequences of having no Kleenex on hand.
"What we'll be able to show come late September is the top five to 10 cities predicted to be the hardest hit," she said.
"Consumers will also be able to enter their Zip Codes at the site to get regional cold and flu forecasts that the company hopes will go, well, viral, as people share them with friends," as AdAge put it.
It is not known if there will be a parallel effort in the UK or Europe.
A "Kleenex Checkpoints" traveling promotion starts Sept. 25 in Chicago -- which last year was one of the hardest hit cities in a severe cold-and-flu season
After that, Kimberley Clark will roll promotion and publicity efforts into towns at highest risk for cold and flu.
The idea is to get consumers to stock up on Kleenex before they get sick, rather than buy supplies when they already feel bad.
A TV campaign breaking this week from JWT , New York, will show people forced into"unfortunate alternatives" when they didn't have Kleenex - such as sneezing into their hands and then wiping them on the family dog.
Kleenex leads the $1.6 billion facial-tissue category with a 46.8% share, up 0.5 points on sales up 2% for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 31, according to Nielsen from Deutsche Bank.