So as will happen from time to time, I find myself in an unexpected moment catching something that we all take for granted for the absurdity it is.
Case in point: my shampoo.
Yeah, it’s a bottle of Head & Shoulders. But somewhere between “rinse” and “repeat” it struck me—what *exactly* is “classic clean”?!
Obviously, every shampoo from the first one ever devised is designed to clean hair, so unless there’s a new hipster trend out there featuring shampoos that make hair dirtier, greasier and more dandruffy (which there very well could be—you never know with them danged hipsters!), then what’s the point of saying “clean” at all?
And the “classic” part—is this some olde-timey reference that’s supposed to invoke an earlier era … you know, like say a century ago when personal hygiene was an afterthought? Or are there so many new-fangled shampoo formulations out there—such absolute hair-cleansing anarchy and utter madness—that we’ve lost ourselves as a species who bathes regularly and our only hope of achieving socially acceptable hygiene is by a return to the very first shampoo ever whipped up?!
Okay, I understand that it’s about marketing—trying to make a product sound more awesome or interesting than it may be without saying *anything* at all, just so we’ll purchase it in vast quantities. But when you start noticing it—really noticing it—it seems crazy. “Classic clean” = “Really nothing new here, but it’s CLASSIC nothing …”
I started going through my medicine cabinet and such extraneous nonsensical silliness is on almost every label …
I draw your attention to “ARCTIC FRESH.” Let me first say that “fresh” is the most overused word in all of marketing—as soon as you show me the first product ANYWHERE that brags about being “rotten,” then I will allow that you need to distinguish something as “fresh.” Until then, I would hope to Don Draper that “fresh” is automatically implied with every single. product. EVAR.
Now how about “arctic.” Did I miss the memo where we all agreed that an inhospitable, barren, frozen region of the planet where no one lives and nothing grows is now synonymous with “especially fresh”? Seriously, the only thing “cool” about the arctic are the polar bears, and when I imagine their teeth, all I think of are jagged yellowy icepicks flecked with stanky decaying fleshy bits of seal. Better known as *not* what I’m hoping to achieve with my dental hygiene.
Tecnu—”the original.” You know, because of the ferociously lucrative Tecnu knockoff market out there, which may or may not include ineffective phonies like “Tacmoo,” “Technew” or “Ticnoo,” you want to make sure to get the right one. Vishnu knows you don’t want to be stuck with a bottle of freakin’ generic Tarkboo when your ankles are bubbling over with poison ivy oils.
We got a double dip on the cortizone—it’s both “MAXIMUM STRENGTH” and an “INTENSIVE HEALING FORMULA.” Like with “fresh,” as soon as someone starts peddling a “moderately weak” formula, or one that promotes “lackadaisical scarring,” I’m not convinced we need these distinctions.
Careful, you’re brain may a-splode with this one. First off, it’s “classic,” which we’ve determined has about as much merit as describing a rock as being made with “genuine matter from this universe.” “Pacific Force Scent”—are we talking about something that smells like Marines landing on the shores of Iwo Jima? I mean, I wasn’t there for that event, but I’m pretty sure that it smelled like fear, sweat, vomit, blood, fire, smoke, mutilated and blown-apart bodies, melted faces and death … with a particularly heavy emphasis on death and its horrid stench. My chosen scent!
Are there a lot of “impure sport” products available? And what does “sport” smell like exactly? Because after my years of playing ball and running track, I’m thinking of every locker room and gym bag I’ve ever known, and I’m not sure I’d be bottling it and selling it as a way to keep from putting out an offending scent. I’d even possibly go with b.o. over old sweat socks, but hey, I’m crazy like that.
“FRESH” ALERT! “FRESH” ALERT! “FRESH” ALERT!
DANGER WILL ROBINSON! DANGER! THERE ARE COMPANIES OUT THERE TRYING TO SELL YOU “STEAMY-CRAP-ON-PUTREFIED-MONKEY-CORPSE-FLAVORED” MINT PRODUCT, THUS THE DISTINCTION NEEDS TO BE MADE! DON’T BE FOOLED! DANGER!
“Dear Valued Customer,
We here at Annie’s Mac & Cheese want to assure you that, unlike our inferior competitors who like to create their products with unadulterated EVIL and unmitigated BADNESS, we take the time to make sure that we only source our ingredients from Officially certified GOOD suppliers. Thus, you will never inadvertently ingest a fork full of Satan-tinged, Hitler-influenced or Kim Jong Un-riffic horror. Remember, their products = bad, ours = good, and we’re not just saying that to cover up anything untoward. No, not us! Nothing to worry about here. Hahahahahaha. … hahaha … ha … uh. Enjoy!
I think I read about this somewhere on the intrawebz—the growing concern over the influx of unnatural lemon flavor, made on assembly lines from bionic lemons, or even worse, supernatural lemon flavor, culled during a seance in a graveyard from pressing a witch’s teat between two ouija boards. Pretty sure the Illuminati and Masons are involved. Gary Busey, too.
I’m also fairly confident that this is what the Tea Party is all about—stopping unnaturally and supernaturally lemon flavored iced tea from reaching market. Yay Al Sharpton!
Hey look, my dishwashing liquid is not from a failed formula that was left behind in a laboratory! And unlike all those shallow, superficial cleaning products out there, this one will reach down to cleanse my dishes to their filthy cores, purifying them on subconscious levels that may affect their eternal souls! Which just might explain the random poetry I’m now finding on my cereal bowls.
Okay, this may not be a silly marketing claim, but as I was going through the cabinets, this caught my attention.
I love the inherent cruelty in this one—the product that heinously kills other creatures by essentially melting their nervous systems is given an aroma that we might find appealing, just to mask the odor of death from our delicate noses!
If Raid had any soul, you’d think they might at least make an ant-killing pesticide with a “picnic” scent. “Oh damn, what is that big creature spitting all over us … oh, it’s wet and … nasty and … HOLY CRAP! It HURTS … OH DAMN! …. DAMN … it hurts … I’m dying … and … is that a fried chicken drumstick and a slice of watermelon? Hells yeah! Heaven here I come!”
Just remember to keep it fresh!