How could you not know it was a bad idea? (Tide detergent pods) 2

Tide came up with the concept of detergent pods (single-dose laundry detergent).  In its design and original packaging the detergent looks like hard candy in a candy jar – especially to young children.

Since they came out, several young children have been poisoned by ingesting these pods.

How did this idea pass through however many levels of approval it had to pass before it was manufactured?  Was there no one in the process who  noticed that the look of the container and product would be tempting for children?  Did none of the chemists or testers or marketing people or sales people have children?

What about the focus groups that are usually held before a product is launched by a major company?  Didn’t any of the people in the focus groups voice concerns? 

Where was the legal team on this? How about the insurers? Wasn’t there anyone in the long process it takes to get this product from conception to store shelves raise a concern?

A quote from a Reuters’ article, Tide to change Pods lid amid child safety concerns notes the numbers of people involved:

Procter & Gamble Chairman and Chief Executive Bob McDonald earlier this year said Tide Pods would be the company’s biggest innovation of 2012. It took P&G eight years of research, with 75 technical staff working on the project full-time, to come up with Tide Pods. More than 6,000 consumers were involved in testing what the company has called Tide’s biggest innovation since Liquid Tide’s 1984 launch.

Clearly there was no system of checks and balances.  Where was the “common sense.” And why pods any how?  Is it is really so difficult to measure out detergent the traditional way?  Is all the extra packaging  healthy for the environment?  (No, it is not.  Most will end up in garbage and ultimately landfills.)

And answer me this why should detergent be poisonous to clean?  Soap and detergents have been around for centuries in configurations that would cause an upset stomach but not the danger these single-dose detergents, manufactured by Tide and others, do.

Detergent gel packs like Tide Pods pose danger for tykes by Heidi Evans
NYC Poison Control Center asks parents to avoid buying the tempting but toxic products that have been eaten by 40 kids in the city since April. Over 1,200 children nationwide have chomped them and 11 have been put on ventilators as a result

What’s worse is that these single-dose laundry detergents were introduced in Europe a year earlier and the dangers they posed to young children began surfacing immediately.  Why no correction to this packaging before the product was sold in the U.S.?

The new packaging has double latches but the design still looks enticing and like it contains a treat.

What were they thinking?  Who’s minding the store?


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About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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2 thoughts on “How could you not know it was a bad idea? (Tide detergent pods)

  • Lisa

    I remember seeing these in the store and wondering why would anyone want to buy these and thinking they looked hazardous. In terms of the legal team, sometimes businesses will try to bypass the lawyers, because they don’t want to hear the negativity. Designed to protect them! Or they may let the lawyers in on their plans and just overrule their decisions. It’s something that I find so bizarre. Oh well. That’s business.

  • Candelaria

    “It’s not personal, it’s business.”  That’s the line from The Godfather.  Thanks for explaining that businesses sometimes bypass their legal team’s advice (I wouldn’t have thought that).  It just all seems so egregious and certainly the kids who’ve had to go on ventilators as a result of eating the detergent didn’t have to have the experience if there had been due diligence.
    Thanks for commenting.