Kids and snot are synonymous. Runny noses, unshielded sneezes, and arm-sleeve tissues are just some of the regular booger battles that parents deal with. So who better to put Kleenex’s improved and tougher product through its paces than kids?
For its latest campaign, Kleenex needed to convey an important but ultimately boring proposition: that Kleenex is now considerably stronger and more absorbent. Rather than resort to “new and improved” marketing tropes, the tissue brand sought out kids to invent a more interesting way to convey the message. But these weren’t any snot-nosed rug rats (er, darling children). The brand and its digital agency, Studiocom, reached out to 100 of the country’s top science and elementary schools to combine science and snot and come up with ideas to test the new tissues. Ten schools accepted the assignment and each got a $5,000 donation, and the five most compelling and creative were filmed to create Kleenex “Xperiments.”
There are a number of things that are interesting about this campaign. First, the ingenuity of the students is impressive. From catapulting a snot rock at a Kleenex to saturating a tissue with egg yolks, from creating a Rube Goldberg mucus launcher to rigging a high-velocity booger cannon, and seeing how much water a sheet will hold before setting off a sodium explosion, the inventive experiments demonstrate a knowledge of physics and a keen understanding of the many ways Kleenex tissues are used.
And, no doubt to the marketer’s delight, the inventions did appear to demonstrate that Kleenex’s new and improved product truly is a tough little tissue. The Kleenex “Xperiments” revealed that the product is capable of holding 32 egg yolks (versus eight with “brand X”), retaining 90 milliliters of water (versus 15 ml), withstanding a 50psi blast of mucus without shredding–and that hand sanitizer makes a suitable snot substitute.
The videos of the five winning experiments are the centerpiece of the Kleenex “Xperiments” website, which includes behind-the-scenes video and prototype sketches for the various contraptions.