Procter & Gamble is making a major marketing push with their new Tide Pods, which seek to "[add] a whole new dimension to laundry, with an innovative look, feel and performance." Question is, is this innovation for the sake of innovation, or does this truly provide a measurable benefit to the end user?
The Pods are little dissolvable packets containing three washing ingredients that are kept separate, like epoxy or explosive chemicals. The idea is that you throw one packet into the wash—relieving yourself from the difficult strain of pouring liquid into a cup—and then it dissolves.
Something that surprised me is that the commercials for the product (click here if you want to see them, I can't embed them, they're just too dopey) don't seem to target the people who'd benefit from this the most: Laundromat users. Back when I was living in an apartment with no washing machine, I would have definitely preferred to take a couple Pods down the block rather than hauling the gallon jugs I'd buy to save money.
Also, an amusing metric touted in P&G's product announcement is that the Pods "took years in development...and over 450 packaging and product sketches." Four hundred and fifty presentation boards would impress me; four hundred and fifty sketches, not so much, particularly over the course of years.
In a write-up on Tide Pods, the Times made an interesting assertion:
Tide Pods is indicative of a trend that is gaining traction in the marketing of mainstay household brands, which could be termed Apple envy. Giants like Procter, Clorox, Reckitt Benckiser and Unilever are seeking to continually deliver distinctive new products that pique the curiosity of consumers who dote on high-technology items like smartphones and tablets (the iPad kind, not the laundry kind).
I admire the thinking insofar as things like smartphones and tablets can greatly improve our experience of often unexciting tasks we need to get through; but do you readers feel this thinking can be accurately translated onto household chores? Let us know in the comments.