Lots of our customers here at Kleenex ask, “What were you thinking with Kleenex: Chipotle Explosion?” And it’s actually kind of a cool story.
You see, Bill Davidson, our Chief Brand Curator, is the Leonardo of Alt Tissues. One day, in 2012, Bill walked back from lunch and saw someone on a skateboard. This sparked a brainstorm, which Bill left as a voicemail to his intern, that will be studied in business schools for decades.
“Skateboards, eh? You don’t see those often anymore. Jacob [Bill’s son] used to like skateboards. Are skateboards making a comeback?
…Kids like extreme things. That could be a way to get kids to buy Kleenex. Make Kleenex more extreme. There’s got to be a better way to say that. …Doritos made electrically charged chips, didn’t they? Millennial thought leaders went apeshit for that shit. You can’t put a charge in Kleenex though. It’s a fire hazard.
…Spice those bastards, Bill! Spice with what? Seasonal spices? Pumpkin spice for fall and nutmeg around the holidays? Fuck no, Bill! Nobody thinks nutmeg is extreme. It has to be extremely spicy. …Spicy hot!
What about a spicy hot explosion on your face? No. That won’t work. Too close to ‘Icy-Hot explosion on your face.’ …But it’s got to be spicy like peppers.
Do millennials like spicy food? Wait. What about that place Chipotle? Kids love that place. But chipotle is a kind of pepper. Legal could figure out how we could use it. … Are chipotle peppers even that hot? Doesn’t matter. Just say ‘explosion’ at the end. Chipotle Explosion. Yeah, that’s perfect.
…Intern! Write down: ‘Kleenex: Chipotle Explosion’ and send it over to R&D.
I’m going to go buy a boat now.”
Bill named that boat the S.S. Cold Spice. Because naming your boat “explosion” is bad luck.
Meanwhile, the idea got kicked over to Tissue Research and Development. And honestly, the first round of prototypes was not that great. The tissues had no bite. Just this red dust that stuck to your fingers. You’d reach to get another tissue to wipe it off, and just make it worse. Things looked bleak until they figured out how to sandwich the Chipotle Explosion layer between layers of tissue.
We began to think about kicking up things up even more and made tissues from wood pulp soaked with ghost chilies.
Then we had to ask, how do we package this? Your regular old tissue box might wet your grandma's panties, but that six-sided cardboard wimp couldn’t begin to contain the Chipotle Explosion. So, we introduced Bucky-ball-boxes. You can yank a tissue at any angle. In case you’re screaming down a mountain on your snowboard or racing your dad’s Camry through the streets of Des Moines, we won’t let your physical orientation relative to the top of a box of Kleenex: Chipotle Explosion dictate whether or not you can have one of these primo tissues.
Now that we had the complete package, we needed to find out how the public would react. Our internal focus groups exposed to the prototype were ecstatic. The guys from sales were high-fiving, shredding air guitar, and making countless plans to “pregame so hard.”
Given these remarkable early signs of success, we began to think about kicking up things up even more and made tissues from wood pulp soaked with ghost chilies. We couldn’t even test those on the lab animals because the first tissue they pulled out of the box burned a scientist’s hand off. We also began experimenting with Kleenex: Chipotle Black Hole. A tissue that is so absorbent you have to use gloves so it doesn’t suck all the calcium out of your finger bones.
The development continues on our line of extreme face tissues, but you can’t mess with the classics. You can only repackage them and completely change their appearance. So, we started working on variations of the original formula.
The first thing was printing stuff on the tissues. Sick flips on skateboards, volcanos, the Mars Rover, and other awesome stuff like that. For customers with more refined tastes, but a strong will-to-extreme, we printed the best public domain books on our tissues. So, you can knock out some passages from an early translation of Dostoyevsky, then (spoiler alert!) chop through your cold like Raskolnikov with an axe.
Then we made versions with different levels of softness and strength. The Chipotle Explosion Ubermensch is just quarter-inch plywood with that red stuff glued to it. Our Chipotle Nuclear Explosion Shelter Edition is made from fibers guaranteed to last 20 years in the original container and each tissue has a Potassium Iodide coating to help protect your thyroid from fallout.
Whatever version is right for you, our customers have one thing in common: absolutely no time for the sniffles. They’re used to a certain level of activity that might seem impossible when you’re sick. No matter if you’re flat on your ass with seasonal allergies or pent up in the hospital with Dengue Fever: if you need to smoke something out of your sinuses, reach for some Kleenex: Chipotle Explosion.