I wrote a long while back about my anger over the Kleenex Individual Hand Towels campaign – “a clean fresh towel every time.”
A year and a half later and seeing these commercials still gets me fired up. Just as the weather starts to turn and the flu shots come out, these commercials prey on parents’ fear of germs.
The latest campaign includes a “hand towel analyzer” to show just how “dirty” your hand towels really are. I took the quiz and filled in answers to say that I washed my hand towels weekly (true) and we all washed our hands for at least 20 seconds (false). Even with those “super clean” answers, the Web site wants to convince me that we are all just spreading salmonella and ought to invest in disposable hand towels.
They don’t even try to greenwash these towels with recycled content – only 100% virgin fiber is good enough “for the superior softness our consumers expect.”
The Web site also has the audacity to use the CDC to scare families into using their product:
“KLEENEX® Hand Towels provide people with an alternative solution to traditional cloth bathroom hand towels, offering one clean, fresh, dry towel every time. In fact, in the U.S. alone, people dry their hands on cloth bathroom towels approximately 200 billion times per year and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for hand washing recommends hand drying with a single–use towel to help reduce the spread of germs.”
Really? Because when I visited the CDC’s official Web site on proper handwashing, I read, “Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.” It only recommends single use towels under its instructions for healthcare settings.
Would I want to share a hand towel in a public restroom or hospital room? Nope. But in my own home, I can be pretty sure no one is smearing E-Coli on the bathroom hand towels. We dry our hands after we wash them and launder them relatively often, so it would stand to reason that they are pretty much clean. Certainly cleaner than this dirty marketing campaign. Yuck!