Kleenex Mansize may by the UK’s most popular tissue brand, but it still had an image problem. Kleenex is phasing out the name Mansize in favour of Extra Large to more accurately reflect the product. The tissues are clearly not the size of a man, but they are larger than the average tissue.
The name change has come about after a year-long enquiry into harmful gender stereotypes in advertising. The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK has said it will be banning advertisements that encourage harmful stereotypes, such as women cleaning up after their family or men failing to do housework.
Sam Smethers, chief executive at campaign group the Fawcett Society, praised Kleenex’s move. “Rebranding Mansized tissues is not to be sneezed at. Removing sexist branding such as this is just sensible 21st-century marketing. But we still have a long way to go before using lazy stereotypes to sell products is a thing of the past,” said Smethers.
A spokesperson for Kimberly-Clark, Kleenex’s parent company, said that in the 60 years Mansize tissues had been on shelves the brand has always been characterised by being soft, strong, and larger than the average tissue.
“It was launched at a time when large cotton handkerchiefs were still very popular and Kleenex offered a unique disposable alternative. Despite that our consumer service is registering a consistent increase of complaints on gender concern related to the Mansize subbrand,” said the spokesperson.
Kimberly-Clark has denied it believes being both soft and strong is an exclusively masculine trait. Despite the public backlash to the sexist name, Mansize tissues remain one of Kleenex’s most popular products, with 3.4 million people buying them every year.