Soldiers say Purell© is their own personal napalm

No one loves discovering new uses for an existing product more than consumer packaged goods companies like Unilever, and P&G. “It’s not just a floor polisher, IT’S A DESERT TOPPING!” Even so, I doubt Johnson & Johnson is going to make a lot out of a new way to use Purell©. At the great blog Kit Up, where military folk swap ideas on all sorts of gadgets to use in the field, one writer suggests applying a match to

the waterless hand cleaner gel that every grunt should be carrying. I love playing with that stuff.  It puts out a blue/clear flame (read extremely hot) and it is a gel, so handles well.  Put that in the middle of your tinder and you are good to go.

While a good reliable fire-starter is a must have for our servicemen and women it should be noted that, as seen below, they are exploring other possible uses for the substance – which is 62% alcohol.

Judging by the above (and other evidence on YouTube) actually setting your hands on fire with Purell© seems to be “relatively” “safe.” However, this phenomenon has actually sparked an urban myth. Snopes rebuts a legend that some worker suffered severe burns on his hands when he lit a cigarette after using a “hand sanitizer product.” J&J media is quoted as saying that incident is “not something they would expect to happen with their product” – which is definitely not a denial that it could happen. Although it evaporates so fast on skin I think it almost requires the intentional and quick application of fire to get a reaction.

Wonder why the TSA allows the stuff on airplanes? Snopes points to a 1998 FAA study that reports hand sanitizers are difficult to ignite and relatively easy to extinguish. To which both Snopes and the US Military might respond: “What brand are you using?”

(For those of you wondering – it’s not all that hard to create actual napalm. Just mix Ivory Snow (or other soaps) and gasoline in the right proportions and VOILA you’ve got it.)


It’s Bounty v. Brawny as paper towel makers go back to court

papertowel-patterns Seems that P&G, makers of Bounty, and Georgia-Pacific, makers of Brawny (and herewith referred to as G&P just to make things more confusing) are once again in court fighting for paper towel supremacy. P&G filed suit against G&P last week because (quoth AdAge) the “bow-tie patterns in new-and-improved Brawny paper towels infringe the trademark bow-tie shapes in the quilts of P&G’s Bounty Extra Soft.”

This follows a lawsuit in March when G&P sued P&G over a claim of false advertising. P&G settled and agreed to modify its claims. “That suit alleged that while the quilts may have been thicker on improved Bounty, the towels weren’t.”

G&P also filed suit against Kimberly Clark (herewith K&C) because it’s Quilted Northern “prominently features a dog snuggled in a quilt with a diamond design.”

Someone needs to throw in the paper towel on this one.

Top 10 Marketing Blunders of 2008

Yeah, there’s a lot more than 10 here. What can I say? It was a very good year for very bad things.

(PS: If you liked this would you mind going here and voting for it on Digg?)



The John McCain Presidential Campaign

  • “Our economy, I think, is still — the fundamentals of our economy are strong.”
  • Has no idea how many houses he (or his wife) owns.
  • Picks Sara Palin, the Broad to Nowhere who couldn’t find Russia or Africa on a map.
  • Campaign adviser and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina says Palin couldn’t run a major corporation.
  • Campaign adviser and former senator Phil Gramm says Americans are whiners about economic problems.
  • “Shutting down” his campaign to fix the bailout.
  • “Lipstick on a pig”
  • Egregious attack on Dungeons & Dragons that clearly cost him the election. (OK, maybe not so much the last one).


Runners Up

  1. Ford features “Space Oddity” — a song about astronaut suicide — in new car campaign.
  2. Framingham State College  uses the word blah 137 times in a 312-word fundraising letter.
  3. Disney (multiple entries): Bans kids from DisneyWorld restaurant; Changes “It’s A Small World” to “A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America; and Sells “High School Musical” panties for tween girls with the phrase “Dive In” on them.
  4. Woolworths (UK) launches Lolita brand of beds for young girl
  5. JetBlue lives up to Southwest’s parody ad by charging for pillows.
  6. Russia uses smiling kids in tourism ad for war zone
  7. Residents of Lesbos sue those other lesbians over brand name
  8. Motrin gets headache from viral moms video
  9. Butcher’s ads feature “Meat Products, Fresh Service” on naked woman
  10. Hershey asks if you’ve found Mr. Goodbar

Special Jury Awards

Co-Branding That Shouldn’t Have Been

The Alpha & Omega of Over-reaching

Product Failure

The Penguins Of Irony “Oh NO You Din’t” Awards

Previous years’ lists

Penguin seal

Pringles can designer is buried in one

Fredric J. Baur died May 4 at Vitas Hospice in Cincinnati. Baur, 89, had designed the Pringles potato chip packaging system for Procter & Gamble in 1966. Baur’s children said they honored his request to bury him in one of the cans by placing part of his cremated remains in a Pringles container in his grave in suburban Springfield Township.

There is no truth to the rumor that Pringles are people. Nor are they soylent green.

P&G has devil of a time collecting damages in Satan case

That $19.25M they were supposed to get? Turns out that:

  1. The jurors guesstimated the amount based on what they think the lawyers charged.
  2. The judge — not the jury — gets to decide what, if any, lawyer fees can be awarded.
  3. The original judge thought it would be a cold day in … well you know … before P&G collected even if they proved the case.

The Satan Desk at Brandweek has the full details here.

Procter & Gamble v. Amway Distributors: Original “Great Satan” has its day in court

The wheels of justice grind slowly, even if you have more than 20 billion-dollar brand-names in your corporate pocket. A dozen years ago P&G sued a bunch of Amway distributors in Utah who — it was alleged — repeated “a false rumor linking the household-products company to a Satanic church.” Closing arguments were heard Friday.

Best quote from the story:

The jurors will not be asked to determine whether the Satan-worship allegation is true – both sides have agreed it’s not – but whether the hellish rumor harmed sales of P&G products.

Too bad. I would much rather have had to decide on that first issue.

The defendants defense is also rather good: They were just repeating a rumor they believed to be true. I forget, is idiocy a valid defense?

P&G has been so dogged by this rumor that it has devoted an entire section of its website to denying it.

Snopes has a great section on the entire story, of course. All of this dates back to whenever it was that some loon or another decided he (you know it was a he) could see a 666 in the company’s man in the moon logo — WHICH ALSO HAS 13 STARS ON IT!!!

Since then the bizarre rumor has continued to resurface. Different versions have the president of P&G as saying he worshiped The Dark Prince during an appearance on either The Phil Donahue Show in 1994 or The Sally Jesse Raphael show in 1998. This is what makes the story so laughable. Anyone with half-a-brain could tell you that this sort of admission is ONLY done on Oprah.

The other thing that refutes this whole thing is also painfully obvious: If P&G were in charge of marketing the Church of Satan then the Church of Satan would now be synonymous with fun, perky and very clean. Also it would have a new smell — Goodbye sulfur, hello Firebreze®.

In the interests of full-disclosure: I have been to Mordor … er, Cincinnati … and interviewed both Saruman and Lord Voldemort several times (that’s what you get to call A.G. Lafley and Jim Stengel when they like you). So I’m probably part of the conspiracy, too. Don’t say I didn’t tell you.

UPDATE: We’ll that didn’t take long. P&G 1, Amway-Types 0. Actually P&G $19.25 million, Amway-Types 0UCH.