Friday, January 21, 2011

useless inventions: big name products, stupid ideas.

.It’s a dreary, misty, soggy day in Vancouver. My cubicle is still here, which means I have not been given an all-expense-paid trip to Paris (anyone? ...Buhler? ...Buhler?), nor have I won the lottery. It's been a week of stupid situations and marked overreactions and I've cried more in succession than the one time I watched Titanic (whoa, now that's a throwback. Does anyone even remember that movie!?). As such, perhaps to deflect, I’m in the mood to make fun of something. Thankfully, a new product has reached the market that allows ample room for mockery. And this one’s almost as ironic as the W Network’s new “Guy Friendly” lineup (…Women’s television network? Guy friendly lineup? Yah, those go together).

Marketing and branding are two things that have always made me laugh. Intentional humor in marketing is one thing; I, too, am a fan of the “World’s Funniest Commercials” show that airs every year, and I too can spend hours googling funny/banned commercials on youtube (I’d point you to my favourite one, but you’d judge me. It’s that offensive. Jesus would cry). But it is the unintentionally amusing products that are my particular favourite. This one actually came out sometime last year, and I’ve been meaning to laugh at it publicly for some time now (am I going to get sued for this?).

"Never Touch a Germy Soap Pump Again"

Ladies and gentlemen: the Hands Free Soap Dispenser. …Let down? You don’t think this is a ridiculous product? Believe me, I am all for being lazy, especially when it comes to household products. My dream is to one day own a vaccuum that will vaccuum my house without me (who am I kidding? That's my favorite chore!). In actuality, I have gotten so used to the automatically flushing toilets at our office (fancy, I know), that I actually get a little annoyed at the toilets that don’t flush by themselves; I’m not even kidding…and don’t even get me started on taps or paper towel dispensers that don’t know what I want. But I feel like we might be taking this a little too far. Especially you, Lysol. To be fair, this has actually been produced and sold by a plethora of companies in recent years. But one read through the online ad (see above link) for Lysol’s hands-free soap dispenser had me giggling at my desk – and it wasn't even because there are four "three great scents".

I believe we all need to stop and remember what exactly these products actually are before we buy our feelgoods from them. You promise that I will never again have to “touch a germy soap pump.” To that I say: Heaven forbid I touch something dirty the nanosecond before I wash my hands!!  The hands free dispenser also promises to encourage “proper and effective handwashing to help prevent the spread of germs.” Yes, and we will prevent the spread of germs… by washing our hands. Not by being freed from the tyranny of “germy soap pumps.”

Now before you sue me, Lysol Conglomerates, let me explain something: you are awesome and rich and successful, and I am not. Nobody listens to me anyway. You are still going to sell three million of these soap dispensers a week, and likely, I’ve pointed it out to a few people who didn’t know about it before. You can actually consider this an odd sort of promotion. Or, maybe it’s a Roast. Don’t only popular people get roasted? I think so. And finally, I’m just using you as the scapegoat for all companies who market this for anything other than what it really is: “one more way to laze your way around the house!” It’s not personal, it’s stupid. Stop trying to make us feel better about our laziness! Just admit that's what we're doing!

I suppose, in the end, I laugh at the fact that we are now gullible enough to buy into this sort of weird marketing scheme. Are we really so pulled in by the overuse of the word “family” and by pleasant lighting and models-as-moms? Where is the logic in our decision making? Or, do we still remember that soap existed before batteries and plastic?




Mama said...

I laughed out loud at the picture. When I saw the title "Never Touch a Germy Soap Pump Again" I also thought immediately, "but I'm about to wash my hands anyways." I'm so often dumbfounded by useless gimmicks and retarded selling ideas. I just love “one more way to laze your way around the house!” haha

bonbon said...

I so want to buy one for you should& leave it on your door step! New I can't though cuz you'd know it was me! Ha ha!