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.)


Judge agrees that J&J suing the Red Cross was a dumb idea

The courts have agreed that Johnson & Johnson’s lawsuit against the Red Cross over the use of the red cross was one of last year’s top 10 dumbest marketing moves.

J&J, which also uses the symbol, filed suit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan against the American Red Cross and four of the charity’s licensees, seeking to prevent them from using the “Greek red cross on a white ground,” claiming that it is a trademark violation and that the humanitarian group was barred from using it for commercial purposes. But U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff disagreed, noting that the American Red Cross had used the emblem for more than a century and was authorized to do so by various Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Congress.

I really want to know who got the job of telling the board of directors, “Oh by the way, we’re suing the Red Cross.” There was no possible good outcome from this. Even had they won in the courts no consumer without a law degree would have understood it.