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How Kleenex used Twitter to reach 75m people for its 'hay fever' campaign

How Kleenex used Twitter to reach 75m people for its 'hay fever' campaign

Best practice from Mandate PR


The Kleenex PR calendar is, apart from specific projects or variant launches, driven by two key seasons – cold and flu and hay fever. One of the Kleenex key strategic drivers is ‘to be big when the season is big’ - to drive tissue consumption at key times of year - but previously Kleenex had not invested significant PR budgets in hay fever, instead focusing on the cold and flu season.

Since Kleenex tissues are not a remedy for hay fever, achieving cut through and being seen as a credible commentator can be difficult for the brand. Hay fever is a crowded PR marketplace.

Kleenex had a business objective of growing pocket pack sales by 10% year on year.

Objectives (PR)

o    Position Kleenex pocket packs as a must-have item for the hay fever season
o    Position Kleenex as a credible commentator on hay fever
o    Achieve an ROI of 5:1
o    Message scoring system for each piece of coverage to ensure quality of message


The strategy was two-fold. Firstly, Mandate enlisted the support of a renowned hay fever expert Professor Jean Emberlin and together with her created an in-depth, authoritative report, the Hay Fever Health Report, which was based on attitudinal research from a number of audiences.

Several media angles were devised from the research, targeted at different media and at different times, in order to have greater appeal and more longevity, given the length of the season.  Both the Report and the accompanying press releases were sent to all key media – print, broadcast and online. A video feature highlighting the Report’s findings was also recorded and featured on several websites, including and MSN.

The second strand of activity was designed to engage an increasingly online audience by providing content they could engage with and therefore view Kleenex as a source of interesting information on hay fever.

The UK’s first real-time, interactive hay fever map was created which was powered by Twitter. Tweeters, by adding the hashtag #atishoo, the first part of their postcode and a number between one and five as a scale of how bad their symptoms were, could help build a national picture of hay fever suffering in real time.

By offering the map as an exclusive to The Evening Standard, we secured a significant piece in the paper with three brand mentions, as well as the embedded branded real time map and story on the publication’s website. The story was quickly upgraded to the homepage of the site – which also featured a link to and picture of the map. The Evening Standard Twitter page then put out a Tweet on it to its 667 followers. The website alone gets 11,226,700 unique users every month. Both The London Paper and The London Lite subsequently covered the map that evening.


In total, 120 pieces of coverage were generated (against a target of 39), including 15 national media outlets, amongst which were The Sunday Express, The Sun, The Daily Star, The Scotsman, The Daily Record, The Daily Sport, and the Chris Evans Show on BBC Radio 2. Oh, and The Evening Standard of course, as well as 60 pieces of significant coverage in high-profile regional media, against a target of 10.

A third (33%) of all coverage included all four key messages (a mention of Kleenex, a mention of the Hay Fever Health Report, a mention of the importance of being prepared for the hay fever season and a mention of tissues being a must have item for the summer months). Two-thirds (67%) mentioned always carrying tissues as part of sufferers’ every day armoury against hay fever.


All in all, the coverage reached 75 million people, including approximately 15,000 Twitter users, who actively engaged in the content provided by the brand. The overall return on investment was 15:1, far higher than the target of 5:1 and as a result of both the Report and the Twitter map Kleenex was seen as a very credible commentator on hay fever. The objective of highlighting tissues as a must have item was also successfully delivered through the coverage messaging.

In addition, one user left a comment on The Evening Standard website saying “the BBC no longer has good coverage of pollen so you'd be filling a gap. I'd recommend your feed to everyone”.

Using Twitter to generate PR was a Kleenex ‘first’ – something we are targeted to achieve in every campaign - and, alongside the Hay Fever Health Report, the model is now being shown to Kleenex teams around the world.  

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