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"Anti-Viral" Kleenex Latest Marketing Ploy

Since you've heard of antibacterial soaps and wipes, it's probably no big surprise that the makers of Kleenex will be selling "anti-viral" tissue in time for the next flu and cold season.

Kimberly-Clark has been working on an anti-viral tissue for several years, and company officials are confident they've got a winner in Kleenex Anti-Viral. Their optimism is rooted to a market plan, in part, based on a sick person's adversion to sharing his or her cold or flu with others.

The Texas-based company plans a $30 million promotional blitz in the first year, including television, radio and print advertising and coupons. The product will be more expensive per sheet than Kleenex's top-line tissues. A 120-count box will cost $1.99.

Are they really serious?

Consumers use anitbacterial products because they have been marketed as an effective and necessary way to lower the risk of infection. However, many scientists fear that the widespread use could lead to a strain of resistant bacteria, or "superbugs," and cause the ingredients to lose effectiveness for the times when they really are needed.

The first major test in people's homes conducted recently has found using antibacterial products apparently offers little protection against the most common germs. People who used antibacterial soaps and cleansers developed cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever, vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms just as often as people who used products that did not contain antibacterial ingredients.

The State July 14, 2004

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