Cottonelle's simple coronavirus ad encourages people to 'share a square'

FCB created the ad remotely over a few days

Published On
Apr 01, 2020

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Last week, Kimberly-Clark's Cottonelle brand released this simple ad urging Americans to stop hoarding toilet paper during the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, it called on people to "share a square" with friends and neighbors in need.

Cottonelle partnered with United Way on the effort, donating $1 million and 1 million rolls of toilet paper to the organization’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund. Plus, Cottonelle pledged to donate $1 for each example of toilet paper sharing that is posted on social media using the hashtag #ShareASquare, through June 1, up to $100,000.

The no-nonsense call to action aims to dissuade Americans from stocking up on toilet paper or buying up a year’s worth of rolls to resell at a higher price. The agency behind it, Interpublic Group of Cos.’ FCB, relied on a remote team of creatives, strategists, editors, designers, producers and others to get the ad out in a matter of just a few days. 

“From the time we got the assignment from the client, it was four days,” says Kerry Hill, who has run FCB Chicago’s production for the past 10 years and was recently promoted to North America director of integrated production. In her new role, Hill oversees production groups in Toronto, New York, Chicago and San Francisco, representing a team of more than 150 people who produce 1,000 pieces of content a week.

Hill says the Cottonelle spot “didn’t require a ton of content” (it even relied on some pre-existing content) and her creatives worked with designers, editors and producers via Zoom and Slack through the weekend to get it done.

“People are working many hours in a day to get these things done,” Hill says. “Everyone is remote. We’re all active users and experts on Zoom. The creatives have been really great about sharing screens with editors and designers. Clients have been very, very good with feedback, in terms of responsiveness. People are just so tethered to their computers right now.”

“When we started working through this idea with FCB, we understood the urgency,” adds Stephanie Pines, global creative, content and design director for Family Care at Kimberly-Clark. “This is a very real challenge we are all facing together. So it needed to deliver the right message at the right time, and could be produced quickly. We went from idea approval to having a fully produced video literally over a weekend, which we feel is a testament to the incredible partnership we have with FCB.”

Read more about how the ad was pulled off here


Apr 01, 2020
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