Don’t Cry Over Ick: How Bleachable Moments Changed the Clorox Conversation

October 27th, 2014
Bleachable Moments Clorox Conversation Tressa Robbins BurrellesLuce Ketchum Media Monitoring Press Clipping Public Relations PR Software Content Marketing

slide from presentation, Clorox & Ketchum

One of the best sessions I attended at the PRSA 2014 International Conference was on how a 100+ year-old company launched a multi-media campaign to become relevant to Millennials. Rita Gorenberg, manager of public relations and social media at The Clorox Company and Leslie Schrader, partner and director of DC Brand Marketing Practice, consumer health and wellness, at Ketchum, explained the who, what, how, and how much (outcomes/measurement) of this campaign.


The target audience is what they called “newly responsible” consumers. Research showed that young parents aren’t afraid to talk about life’s messy moments. Conversations and videos were already happening online about these messes but there was no conversation about where it goes next – the cleanup phase.

The key insights that were garnered from the research were:

  • Consumers gather information online
  • Market WITH Millennials, not AT them
  • Social media is embedded in the Millennials’ life – case in point, video on YouTube where kids make a mess with flour –mom’s first instinct was to grab video and share
  • Most conversations were about the “3 P’s”—pee, poop, puke
  • Content is NOT king with Millennials—context is


The strategy was “See mess, hear mess, speak mess.”

  • See mess: “Talk to dirty to me”
  • Hear mess: Share all things messy via “bleachable moments”
  • Speak mess: Create a language of mess, based on the “ick-speriences” of the newly responsibles


They created the “Ick-tionary, your wiki for the icky.” To do this, they sought out “ick-sperts” (influencers) mommy bloggers, daddy bloggers, comedians, in order to use popular language (not Clorox’s terms) that resonates—such as poo-nami. Language had to be genuine and authentic or it wouldn’t work.

There were other demographics, such as millennials without kids, which were targeted. “Bleachable moments” was launched from Las Vegas with people on the street video interviews filling-in the blanks “I _____ my ______ in Vegas”. They used paid media such as digital billboards and taxi cab toppers, but the on-the-ground activation of these interviews pulled in earned media as it gave the media something to talk about.

This campaign had multiple components across multi-media platforms—from traditional PR and advertising to digital and web-based application, so Ketchum worked with other agencies to ensure Clorox was getting the best of the best in each area.


So, did it work? Yes, both internally and externally—by posting Ick-tionary terms in office bathrooms, it re-empowered employees, giving them something new to talk about. It drove social interaction – it was #1 nationwide trending on Twitter (which would’ve been a $200,000 buy). Conversation around Clorox in conjunction with “messes” and “cleanup” rose 18 percent. Online connections between Clorox and general messes increased 142 percent. Conversations around all Clorox brands increased across the board. “Bleachable moments” conversation volume increased 200 percent. Activities resulted in nearly a million page views, 12 million Twitter impressions, and 63 million media impressions. Finally, where it really counts, the brand perception shifted—a 10 percent increase in brand favorability and an 8 percent increase in purchase interest (5 percent was the goal). I’d call that a “clean” success!



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