What I’m thinking about today:

1.Clowning around in North Hampton
2.Men’s Wearhouse starts to reap what it sowed by letting George Zimmer go
3.Kleenex helps to predict the flu

1. Remember the clown from Stephen King’s It? Well ‘It’ has a name – Pennywise – and a bunch of impostors are running around the British town of North Hampton scaring the you-know-what out of people. See for yourself (and yes, it is creepy).

Could you imagine walking down the street, turning the corner and running smack into it? Could you imagine looking across the street and seeing it? Or on your way to work? Holy crap. Granted, these clowns aren’t doing anything wrong, technically, but what do you classify what they’re doing? Performance art? Cosplay? Public safety risk?

Here’s hoping no one in the U.S. copies the idea.

2. Men’s Wearhouse should know better… The George Zimmer-less Men’s Wearhouse is reporting that sales are down for the 2013 calendar year by almost 10%. And the CEO knows why. It’s those pesky brides. You know, the customer. Yep, he’s blaming the most powerful group of consumers behind only tweens and moms. Why? Because they think ‘13’ is unlucky and don’t want to get married in the year 2013.

Being blamed for a company’s poor performance didn’t sit too well with women in general, as seen by their tweets. The CEO – Doug Ewert – might want to look at the impact firing Zimmer has had on his business. The company reported higher than expected results earlier in the year, up 5%. But since he was let go in the second quarter the numbers have been declining.

No word if Ewert blames Zimmer’s firing on suspicious brides.

3. Would you want to know if the flu was coming to your town? And if you knew, would you run out and buy tissues? Specifically Kleenex? Well, Kleenex is hoping you do. And they are hoping you are ready to obsess over the flu as they launch their new flu-tracker app, Achoo.

Some may see this as a way to play on consumer fear – hey, the flu is coming to your town and you better be ready. And some would be…right. Kleenex is looking to own flu season. In addition to Achoo, which lets you search by zip code to see if your town will be hit (the tool is 90% accurate) it is also setting up Kleenex Checkpoints, going to towns that are about to be hit with an outbreak.

The strategy – playing on the FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) is an old one. The execution isn’t. This is just the tip of the iceberg as brands begin to realize the power of data available to them and how they can use it to create a real-time, relevant campaign. One that goes beyond a sale and instead takes the form of a resource. It’s real-time content marketing. And here’s hoping it doesn’t come to a town near you.