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To Sell Green Products, Clorox Mocks ‘Green Housewives’ And Eco-Consciousness

By Joe Romm

"To Sell Green Products, Clorox Mocks ‘Green Housewives’ And Eco-Consciousness"

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I would not have thought that mocking a very large pool of your potential customers was a winning ad strategy. But Clorox seems to think it makes sense:

I haven’t found anybody yet who isn’t offended by that in some way, including, as it does, various offensive stereotypes of “housewives.”

And if that isn’t enough mockery for you, play the shorter videos below that one on Clorox’s “Green Works” website, where they make light of “conflict diamonds,” An Inconvenient Truth, “gluten-free” food and BPA.

Oh, and they never actually mention their products! I can’t say that I ever thought of Clorox as a producer of green products — and these videos make it rather unlikely I’ll be trying any of them any time soon.

Satire is a risky business, especially if you yourself don’t belong to the group being satirized and your satire can easily be taken instead as offensive. Seth MacFarlane found that out at the Academy’s awards with his tasteless “We Saw Your Boobs” musical number. As Andrew O’Hehir put it in his Salon piece, “I’ll tell you what’s funny“:

[MacFarlane] stumbled into a well-known problem with irony, which is inherently unstable. Anytime you say something you supposedly don’t mean, people are likely to take you at your word – and then you no longer control “what you meant” in the first place. Whether MacFarlane intended his shtick as absurdist or satirical humor is now irrelevant, because it came out as a more hurtful variety.

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18 Responses to To Sell Green Products, Clorox Mocks ‘Green Housewives’ And Eco-Consciousness

  1. Paul Klinkman says:

    2% of the nation is having various chlorine gas reactions to Clorox.

    In Clorox’s theory, their chlorine bleach is far less toxic than the chlorine poison gas that rolled across the fields of war years ago. In practice, maybe 2% of the country are 100 times as sensitive as everybody else, and they are reacting medically to the gas. They’re either having a cholinesterase inhibitor reaction or an asthmatic reaction. Worst cases, their neurons that control their heartbeat stop functioning, or their lungs fill with fluid.

    Maybe Clorox feels that they have nothing left to lose. The regulators are going to ground them someday.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      When did capitalist peddlers of tobacco, asbestos, infant milk formulae, junk foods, dangerous pharmaceuticals, alcoholic pop-drinks for teenagers, or even, in the halcyon days of ‘free trade’ and ‘The White Man’s Burden’, opium, ever give a stuff over the damage done to the ‘little people’? So long as the money keeps flowing, they could not give a stuff, and never will.

  2. Joan Savage says:

    Wow. What schizoid relationship to two of Clorox’s own product lines, Green Works and Burt’s Bees.

    Mocking a girl-pals TV show like Desperate Housewives or its predecessor Sex in the City, maybe they hope customers will go after a Burt’s Bees shampoo in the way women yearned for Carrie’s shoes.

    Sierra Club partnered with Chlorox’s Green Works and this is still on the Sierra Club web page.

    http://www.sierraclub.org/greenworks/

    This is problematic for some Sierra Club members…

  3. BobbyL says:

    The Sierra Club has partnered with Green Works for several years. That suggests the stuff is really green.

    The explanation:
    “Our goals are to put affordable, green products in the hands of millions of people and to encourage major manufacturing companies to green their product lines. We believe that for the Sierra Club to use its name to promote these goals, we must partner with big companies that have the large distribution networks so they can make a good product that’s affordable and we can put it in the hands of as many people as possible. At this time, the natural cleaning products made by smaller companies are not widely available and are not priced low enough to be considered a viable alternative for many mainstream American consumers. Green products should not be niche products; we need to mainstream them.

    Of course, the products produced by the big manufacturers also have to meet the highest standards for environmentally-friendly natural cleaning products (click here for the Green Works product ingredients or click here to read about their EPA “Design for the Environment” designation). And of course, we scrutinized the environmental record of the company itself. In the case of the Green Works line of products and its parent company, Clorox, all of these goals and requirements were met.”

    http://www.sierraclub.org/greenworks/

    • Joan Savage says:

      It’s not all that green.

      List of ingredients here:
      http://www.greenworkscleaners.com/products/ingredients/

      Have fun looking up where they all come from..

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        What better for a ‘natural cleaning product’ such as this, than the obvious re-branding as ‘Greenwash’.

      • BobbyL says:

        Are there “greener” products available?

        • Joan Savage says:

          Castile soap, vinegar, ammonia, salt, and or alcohol are in many pre-industrial cleaning recipes. They are still on grocery store shelves and they still work, so the answer is yes.

          • BobbyL says:

            Which of those can you use as your laundry detergent? And what about for washing dishes? Ammonia may be green (I’m not sure) but you don’t want to breathe in too much of it. Vinegar is an acid so you have to be careful where you use it. Is salt green? Not in drinking water reservoirs. Apparently one can make Castile soap at home. I found these directions: “Gather your lye crystals and set them in the sink. Slowly add the crystals to the water in a glass container, stirring with a sturdy plastic spoon to aid in dissolving the lye. This is a VERY caustic and HOT solution, wear rubber gloves, open the window for ventilation, and please be careful. Once you get past this bit, the rest is relatively hazard-free.”

          • Joan Savage says:

            BobbyL -

            My friend has been using “soap nuts” to wash her clothes and in three months is still satisfied. She experimented with boiling up a few soap nuts to make a solution that she used to wash her hair, and it came out great. I haven’t tried them yet.
            They don’t produce bubbles but they clean.

            There are other items like that around, and whole blogs are devoted to neat non-toxic cleaners and soaps.

          • BobbyL says:

            I think what the Sierra Club is trying to do is get very large numbers of people who do use the commercial products to switch to something greener.

  4. Sasparilla says:

    Chlorox must have gotten those advertising executives from Ford that approved those sexist commercials that were panned recently.

    After watching its like, how in the world did their execs go with this? They must be off living in Romney world…

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      They are advertising robopaths, cogs in an industry that produces nothing but lies, psychological manipulation, exacerbation of feelings of inadequacy, envy and greed, and that levies a private tax on all consumers, who are forced to pay for their own manipulation and mental molestation.

  5. Kota says:

    Here we are whining about what is in fracking fluids or which food has GMOs when there are MORE important things to consider. We need to DEMAND the FDA or EPA or what ever alphabet is in charge to start labeling which of our green products are obnoxious free!!

    I see you over there at the eggs reaching for the free range!! Don’t think I’m not judging your obnoxiousness! >: [

  6. pinroot says:


    I would not have thought that mocking a very large pool of your potential customers was a winning ad strategy. But Clorox seems to think it makes sense:

    What’s the problem? You guys mock people who are skeptical. That certainly isn’t going to win them over to your way of thinking, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue for you, so why is it bad that some large corporation does it?

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      But, pinhead, mockery is the least that you deserve.

    • Chris Winter says:

      Once again, this is a misuse of the term “skeptical.” The people being mocked are not really skeptics. They do not reject the idea that climate change needs to be fought because they see flaws in the science behind it, or because they have better (less expensive) ways of dealing with it. They reject the idea of climate change because it threatens either their profits or their ideology. Nature, however, cares nothing for their profits or their ideology. Giving credence to such fake skepticism would bring heavy penalties for everyone.