As Halloween arrives, so does the cold and flu season, which brings the launch of the Clorox Cold & Flu Pulse. The website debuted Tuesday in an effort to help people predict when germs are headed their way, as part of the brand's push to help people know when to stock up on disinfecting wipes. The website from Omnicom's Critical Mass uses social-intelligence tool Bottlenose and Twitterdata to predict virality of actual virus, as opposed to marketing stuff.
The Pulse was launched in part based on a study conducted with Jonah Berger, author of "Contagious: Why Things Catch On." It found online flu conversations spike a week earlier than the number of confirmed flu cases from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, an increase in conversation about exercise and staying late at work correlate with higher conversation about flu the following week -- so being good may be bad for you. Clorox appears to be filling the void from Kleenex, which in 2013 launched an online cold-flu predictor that's no longer operating.