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From the 8th Annual Shorty Awards

Clorox: For When Things Go Viral

Bronze Honor in Data Visualization

Entered in Creative use of Technology


The speed of Internet celebrity is amazing—two million views stack up faster than tissues on your nightstand when you're sick. We know that colds and the flu have the same viral intensity as the most popular Internet sensations, but we have the power to stop them from spreading.

In our hyper-connected world, we often share how we're feeling on social media. With that in mind, Clorox asked: Can we harness this information to determine where the flu might be likely to strike next? This flu season, Clorox is using social conversations as an indicator of the flu, so it can help spread the word, NOT the flu.

Strategy and Execution

Clorox built the Clorox Cold & Flu Pulse using Bottlenose and Twitter data to analyze millions of conversations in real time and report how the cold and flu are trending online. In addition to determining the severity of the flu, the tracker included other topics being discussed, such as top cities where it's trending, and tips related to preventing the spread of the cold and flu.

Up until the Clorox Cold & Flu Pulse, flu trackers simply reported what had already happened. Previous trackers pulled data from reported cases and hospital information, meaning that by the time a user checked the status, it was too late – the flu had arrived.

The Clorox Cold & Flu Pulse was devised based on a hunch that when things go viral, they do so online and offline. Clorox worked with social media expert Jonah Berger to conduct a study using last year's social media conversation about flu and confirmed cases reported by the CDC. In fact, online conversations about the flu peak a week before flu cases are confirmed.

Those online conversations aren't private. People are broadcasting the signs and symptoms of the flu and providing us with all the information we need to predict when and where an outbreak will occur. Clorox combined that data with information from Bottlenose to create a digital experience that was simple and informative. People can now visit the website on any device and immediately determine the flu's current threat level, and then learn about prevention tips.

Clorox then worked with Dr. Tanya Altmann to share simple steps to help #StopTheSpread this cold and flu season including getting vaccinated, washing hands frequently, and disinfecting germ hot spots with a disinfectant approved to kill cold and flu viruses, like Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes. Dr. Altmann helped promote the Cold & Flu Pulse as another tool parents can use to provide a heads up cold or flu was hitting, giving them extra time to prepare and, of course, disinfect.


While the program is still active, the Clorox Cold and Flu pulse has already secured nearly 29 million media impressions, which has led to over 33,000 people tracking the flu with our experience. There's no doubt the tracker has proved to be a useful tool for the consumer. They're already counting on it to gauge the threat currently posed by the flu and plan accordingly. In this way, we've created a tool that informs the consumer about the need, inspires them to purchase our product to solve that need, and then connecting it to our other retailer tracking tools provides the business data for us to ensure our product is always available in the areas where it will be most needed. As it turns out, there's a lot more to a tweet than 140 characters.


Video for Clorox: For When Things Go Viral

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Ketchum, Critical Mass, AKQA, The Clorox Company


Entry Credits