Mansize it

October 17, 2011 at 8:40 pm 15 comments

They say everything is bigger in the US. Cars, houses, roads, portions, people, debt, you name it and it’s bigger.

I’ve discovered something that isn’t bigger in the US: Kleenex facial tissue.

Yup, in the UK we have something called Mansize Kleenex.

I’ve often thought how strange it is to call it mansize. Why do men get bigger tissues? Why is a larger, stronger product only aimed towards men? Do women not need larger, stronger tissues? Is it because women generally have smaller noses? Less snot? Do men purchase, and use, more tissues if they are positioned as masculine, tough and durable? If they sneeze and are offered a regular tissue, do they turn it down, saying, “No, I couldn’t possibly use that pansy tissue! Look at me! I need bigger! Stronger! More reliable! GET ME THE MANSIZE KLEENEX BEFORE I LAUNCH A SNOT ROCKET!”

When I saw the new ads for Mansize Kleenex, showcasing the smaller boxes the tissues now come in, I started thinking about the concept again. The ads feature men, women, and children all using the tissues and yet it’s still marketed as “mansize”.

I couldn’t recall ever seeing “mansize” tissues in the US and I was pretty sure that sort of label wouldn’t work over there. The “mansize” label doesn’t offend me but it does intrigue me. The regular sized tissues have always done the job for me and Scott. To be honest, until they came out with the smaller boxes of Mansize Kleenex, I thought it was ridiculous to have such a mahoosive box of Kleenex in the house anyway. (Unless I was 12 years old 8 years old and still playing with Barbies. They’d make perfect duvets for Barbie and Ken.)

It seems to me the larger tissues in grey and black boxes would be more appealing to male consumers anyway. Why still have the “mansize” label? Can I be the only one who has wondered how this label still flies with consumers? Is it because I come from the land of political correctness?

I decided to ask Kimberly-Clark.

To: Consumer Services
Subject: Mansize Kleenex

Dear Kleenex,  

As an American living in the UK, I was surprised to see Mansize Kleenex on the shelves of my local supermarket. This is something I’ve never seen in the US. Do the bigger, stronger Kleenex products exist in the US but go under a different name? Do you ever get complaints about it being called “mansize”? I wonder if the non-PC aspect of this is why “mansize” Kleenex products aren’t available to the American consumer. I’d be interested to know if the product exists under a different name in the US or if the UK is the only country lucky enough to experience stronger, bigger tissues.  


I waited longer than expected for a reply. They must have had a toilet paper crisis or something, but 16 days later, Kimberly-Clark did get back to me.

From: Consumer Services
Subject: Mansize Kleenex

Dear Caitlin,

Thanks for your e-mail about Kimberly-Clark products.

Due to a marked decline in consumer preference, we are no longer manufacturing KLEENEX® Extra Large facial tissue in the United States.  It was discontinued in August of 2009.  We hope this information helps.

Thanks again for your e-mail.

Consumer Services, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
Lead the world in essentials for a better life.

So this is interesting. Not only were they not called “mansize” (no surprise there) in the US, but extra large tissues just weren’t popular either.  Americans love bigger, better, and stronger! What is going on?!

Not only am I puzzled by the “mansize” label, but now also about the need for larger tissues in Britain. Could it really be true that Brits–men and women–have larger noses and more boogers* and therefore a greater need for super-sized tissues?

*Or “bogey” as they say over here.

Entry filed under: expat, life. Tags: , , , , , , .

This is for all those “pumpkin puree in London” searches October is National Pork Month

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sara  |  October 17, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    I’m going to go ahead and state the obvious reason men need larger and thicker kleenex, and the need to market as a kleenex for “men”… Ever watch a teen movie where the teen boy has a box of kleenex and a bottle of lotion by his bed, and his friends start making veiled jokes? Yup. YUP.

    • 2. caitlin0210  |  October 18, 2011 at 5:32 am

      Haha, yeah, I know those teen movies all too well. Most of them are American. So…I’m still stumped as to why extra large tissues don’t exist over there?! And don’t say Americans use tube socks!

      Mansize tissues seems to be popular over here even with women, so I wondered if any of those women ever thought about the label.

  • 3. Amanda  |  October 17, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Well here’s another marketing ploy; did you notice any of the new “manly” Dr. Pepper ads while you were here? Check it out….

  • 5. Lane  |  October 18, 2011 at 12:04 am

    Very odd, very odd indeed. Sara might be on to something, but I dare not think about it.

  • 7. UKate  |  October 20, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Thank you for causing me to spit my coffee all over my keyboard and monitor. I’ve just come to the UK from the US and I, too, was completely flabbergasted by the size of the Kleenex here. *Everything* else seemed smaller, disappointingly so at times, but apparently the mucous membranes of the people of the UK are SO ferocious that nothing will satisfy but a mansized tissue.

    I laughed so hard at this – thanks for that. 🙂


    • 8. caitlin0210  |  November 3, 2011 at 11:29 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Kate. Glad you can relate and found the large tissues just as amusing as I did.

  • 9. spamfred  |  November 2, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Maybe the grey weather we have some much of the time means we have colds more often so may as well save time by buying extra big tissues so we only use 1 at a time instead of loads. Probably “mansize” because this is the UK and women still don’t really have disgusting bodily functions over here!

  • 11. Kleenex |  |  December 20, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    […] Mansize it ( […]

  • 12. Kleenex |  |  December 20, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    […] Mansize it ( […]

  • 13. The joy of the season « How to Play House  |  December 23, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    […] Is it because the UK is just not as worried about being as politically correct as the US? (Remember the man-size Kleenex?) […]

  • 14. Roger Esker  |  April 7, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    I started buying MANSIZE Kleenex about 1969 in the US. Loved them
    for being durable, and large enough for repeated use. In fact I did
    away with handkerchiefs by just folding them and putting them in my pocket. Somewhere along the line they became Kleenex Extra Large
    more PC, I suppose. I used them until along in 2010 when I discovered they were no longer made. I bought up all I could find, and am still rationing them. I found many older people, as many
    women as men, miss them. They were NEVER promoted, and then
    just quietly discontinued. How do I buy them in the UK? Are they
    still available in Canada?

  • 15. Bob  |  November 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Mansize Kleenex tissues were invented in 1941 in the US. They were manufactured until 2009, and available for a short time afterward depending on remaining stock at various vendors. I believe the original reason for the moniker “Mansize” had to do with these tissues being bigger and stronger than other tissues. (Interestingly, Kleenex tissues were created for women to help with removing face cream, and make-up, etc.) The Mansize tissues are sorely missed in the US because they were perfect. I have hayfever and these tissues were the best ones on the market. I hope that the Mansize tissues become available again in the US.


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