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Can Brita Filter the Negativity Out of Twitter? Here's How It's Trying

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Credit: Clorox Co.

Can Brita go beyond filtering contaminants out of water to taking the broader unpleasantness out of life, even on Twitter? The Clorox Co. brand is giving it a go with a #FilterYourFeed campaign from McGarrybowen launching April 6 that lets people find and remove the negative things in their feeds, then replace them with positive messages from spokesman Stephen Curry along with GIFs of him doing things like playing with puppies.

The effort is part of the brand's "Filtered Life" series, which looks at all the bad stuff that can be removed from consciousness as a metaphor for what filters do to water.

Today's anti-bullying effort encourages self-filtering, only applying to outgoing, not incoming tweets. It also provides a bit of instant analysis people can use to see how many of their tweets get flagged.

In the case of the reporter here, Brita's Twitter filter grabbed only 1.5% of messages -- those due largely to quotes from others. The filter doesn't, for example, like the word "crap," so Procter & Gamble Co. Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard's comments of recent months got snared repeatedly.

There are of course worse things to be said. Some might point to Tweeter in Chief @RealDonaldTrump. It's unclear what share of the president's tweets might get caught by the filter, because it's not built to apply to other people's accounts. Asked whether Donald Trump might benefit from feed filtering, Brita Associate Director Yating Wong said, "We would encourage him to put out more positive comments and focus on the happy moments." She suggested he try Mr. Curry's GIFs featuring puppies and ice cream.

"We want to celebrate the good," Ms. Wong said. "We don't want to get too bogged down in the negative. We just want to get to the good stuff faster."

As part of Filter Your Feed Day, Brita will donate up to $20,000, or $1 per for every #FilterYourFeed share, to the Cybersmile Foundation, an international non-profit organization that combats cyberbullying.

The broader "Filtered Life" campaign, which includes work from McGarryBowen, media shop OMD, Current for PR, and AKQA on digital media, spans digital and paid and earned social. It includes a series of videos featuring Mr. Curry and removal of words that turn phrases from negatives into positives.

Brita is looking to do that with the business too. Sales in channels tracked by Nielsen, which exclude ecommerce and some club-store sales, were down 7.1% and market share down 3.1 percentage points in the 52 weeks ended Feb. 25, according to sales data provided by Deutsche Bank. But, accentuating the positives, share declines lessened for the latest four- and 12-week periods.