As most marketers know, ethics matter, to consumers and the general public. Nonetheless, unethical practices abound. But, sometimes there is gray line. Thus, we now look at whether recent Tide packaging innovations are a clever or unethical use of marketing.
About Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble (P&G) is a long-time household products and personal care dynamo. For instance, its Web site notes:
“Our brands are trusted in millions of living rooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathrooms—and have been passed down from generation to generation. Over the course of 181 years, they’ve challenged convention, led innovation, and helped shape culture.”
In recent years, P&G has faced pressure from private brands and other competitors. Thus, it’s strategy focuses on creating and sustaining clever differential advantages.
The following image shows some of leading brands. The full list may be found by clicking the image.
New Tide Packaging: A Clever or Unethical Use of Marketing
Among P&G’s largest product lines is laundry detergent. It is the global leader. With brands such as Tide, Ariel, Cheer, Era, and Gain. As the dedicated Tide Web site states:
“You’ll find all our Tide laundry detergent products, from liquid to powder, on tide.com. Find the best variety of detergents for your needs, whether you’re looking for powder, liquid, Tide PODS® or other cleaning detergent products. Get the information you need from dosing to consumer detergent reviews. To keep clothes looking their best, detergent from Tide has you covered.”
To keep ahead of the pack, P&G regularly innovates with Tide. However, two recent packaging innovations have generated some criticism.
First, there was the social media-driven Tide pod challenge. The challenge was neither neither concevied nor promoted by P&G. Lindsey Bever reports for the Washington Post:
“Videos circulating on social media show kids biting rightly colored liquid laundry detergent packets. Or cooking them in frying pans, then chewing them, and spewing the soap from their mouths. Experts say the game, dubbed the ‘Tide pod challenge,’ is dangerous.”
More recently, there was an uproar about the new packaging shown below. Patty Odell reports for Chief Marketer that:
“Tide unveiled new eco-friendly packaging. But people are asking, Tide, is that you? Social media lit up with users comparing the new design, called the Tide Eco-Box, to boxed wine. The box sits on a pull-out stand and has a twist-to-open pour along with a measuring cup. Inside, the liquid is sealed in a bag. In addition to the eco-friendly design of the box — it uses 60 percent less plastic than shipping an equivalent 150 ounce bottle of Tide since it doesn’t require additional layers of cardboard boxing or bubble wrap — P&G saves money on shipping costs.”