Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Do you think that Procter & Gamble is wrong to make a poisonous product that they deliberately design to look like candy?

Asked by Dutchess_III (38793points) January 22nd, 2018

This question came to me because of a conversation on Facebook about the Tide Pod business. Apparently college kids (why is it always college kids?) are responding to an idiotic challenge to bite into Tide Pods and they’re being rushed to the hospital.
I, personally, say “Too bad you fool,” to those adult children.
But what about the toddlers who have parents who don’t have the brains to either keep the stuff out of the house, or at least keep them safely out of reach? But even for the most vigilant parent accidents can happen. What if they go to a friend’s house, not realizing the friend uses them and doesn’t keep them safely stashed?
Bottom line, do you think Procter & Gamble is wrong to make a poisonous product as appealing as candy? Do they share some of the responsibility for toddlers getting hurt?

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50 Answers

anniereborn's avatar

I hate that company anyway. Yes.

Zaku's avatar

I think it’s stupid that they do that… oh… I mean in all cases:

* P&G is stupid (marketing gone mad) to make them like that

* people are stupid to taste them

* people are well, underestimating the stupidity of others, to post jokes about them that got people to actually do it

But I think the actual responsibility rests with the fools eating toxic soap packets.

I think it’s sad and awful that they did it, and alarming people are that foolish, and also that it’s grimly funny in a Darwin Awards kind of way.

MrGrimm888's avatar

My nephew, when he was a baby, used to eat handfuls of ashtray. It doesn’t necessarily have to look like candy. What color would be safe? The pods are small by design. I’d be more interested in the packaging they come in being child safe.

The college kids, yes. You can’t protect people from themselves.

elbanditoroso's avatar

No, P&G makes laundry soap and has for years. Detergent has always been inedible and potentially poisonous. P&G did not in any way intend for detergent to be ingested.

PEOPLE ARE STUPID Anyone who eats a pod is an idiot.

Not in any way P&G’s fault.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I call it natural selection, at work.

imrainmaker's avatar

Wow.. people are that stupid to do such things?

MrGrimm888's avatar

^So many people are dying while taking selfies, that it has overridden many other causes of death. Yes. People are that stupid.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have no sympathy for the adults being stupid. My concern is for the kids.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I get that Dutch.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Toddlers will put anything in their mouth, whether it looks like candy or not.

josie's avatar

Proctor and Gamble can make and sell any legal product they want.
It is not their fault that some college kids and parents are too stupid to comprehend how to use them.

If producers were responsible for misuse of their product by college kids and clueless parents, there would be no consumer products at all.

And then people would have to make their own. And then, what would college kids and clueless parents do.

Come to think of it, maybe they would starve. Or get smart.

Not a bad notion.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@josie wrote above:

It is not their fault that some college kids and parents are too stupid to comprehend how to use them.

If producers were responsible for misuse of their product by college kids and clueless parents, there would be no consumer products at all.

Precisely what the NRA has been saying for decades about firearms.

josie's avatar

My point exactly

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

There is only one thing worse than an idiot and that is someone who thinks they can cure idiocy by putting constraints on the non idiots.

Well said!

Dutchess_III's avatar

You guys keep coming back to the point that the parents and college kids are stupid.
My concern is with toddlers. Yes, they’ll put anything in their mouths, and it’s on the parents to keep the stuff out of reach. But accidents and oversights can happen. When they get to be 3 or 4 most know not to put anything in their mouth that isn’t food. The Tide Pods look like food. They look like candy.

When my son was about three I told him to quit eating bugs! He said, “Thas not bugs! Thas a mosquito.” What??!! LOLL!

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

As with all household products, adults must keep these away from vulnerable children. Just like their ads show.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes they should. But some parents are careless and lazy. And oversights and accidents can happen, even to the most vigilant of parents.
If they had come out when I had kids I would not have bought them.
I don’t buy them now because we’re paying extra for a gimmick.

SergeantQueen's avatar

I read about this today and it made me think of this question.
I’m not sure if they were really in the wrong, I think the design choice was more of a “This makes sense based on what we are using and how much we are using”. I see three colors in the pic, red, blue, and white. The white I assume is some sort of powder while the red and blue are two different liquids. They probably did it like that because they have to use a certain amount of each chemical, and they wanted to make it look nice and compact.
The dishwasher tablets that I use look like they could be candies as well. Not sure if P&G is the same company that makes those, but I don’t think it’s just them.

Basically, I think the design choice has more to do with it being compact (thus cheaper), neat looking, and small enough to fit more in a single box/container, than if they tried to make them look any different. I’m pretty sure those chemicals are colored as they are (meaning those chemical are naturally red, white, and blue) vs. being colored by the company (I could be wrong).
I don’t think companies are intentionally creating poisonous items to look like candy knowing children exist.

SergeantQueen's avatar

If it is intentional, This could have something to do with it.

Color plays a big role in marketing and in how we respond to things. Mainly subconsciously.
So, we know “this product we are buying is poisonous, and it’s only to clean our clothes, so it doesn’t matter how pretty/ugly it looks” we still buy it because our mind is thinking “hey it’s red blue and white, and it looks pretty!’ so it’s lowkey compelling us to buy it.

Red is a very strong color. Associated with fear and survival, but also strength and power
Blue is associated with peace and dependability, and it’s very calming compared to red
White is pure, associated with being clean. It represents cleanliness, peace, and innocence.

So, going off all this, having a product that’s red, white and blue, can make someone think it’s a strong product, that will work as it’s supposed to, and in this case, clean dishes or clothes.

Darth_Algar's avatar


By this point, going by your previous couple of replies, I have to wonder – was this a real question, or were you just fishing for validation and reinforcement of your own view?

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s intentional. I’m pretty sure they can make them any color they want, just like with medicines.

It’s just a discussion @Darth_Algar. Don’t go there.

Dutchess_III's avatar


Marketing and psychology of marketing is a billion dollar industry.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’ve been reading through the link you provided about the psychology of color, @SergeantQueen . Interesting. From what I’ve seen it looks like they made the Tide Pods in red, blue, orange and white. (I’ve never seen one in real life.)

Red is a very powerful, dynamic color that reflects our physical needs whether to show affection and love, or to portray terror, fear, and survival. Red is also a very energizing color that can portray friendliness and strength, but can also be demanding and show aggression depending on its context.
Overall, if you’re looking to have a really powerful presence or get someone’s attention fast, red is your go-to color. Just remember to use it sparingly to avoid the extreme negative reactions it can so easily awaken.”

Blue is known for its trust and dependability. It’s reliable, responsible, and mentally soothing. For that reason alone, it’s one of the most-liked colors across the entire world.
Unlike red, blue lends a more mental reaction rather than physical that allows us to destress, calm down, and think of the most ideal situation. Unfortunately, it also is one of the last colors to be seen, and can be perceived as distant, cold, or unfriendly if used it great amounts.
Overall, blue is a well-liked color that can bring a sense of calmness and trust when building relationships, especially in marketing.”

White is color that is complete and pure, making it a perfect example of purity, innocence, cleanliness, and peace. White can also represent new beginnings, providing a blank slate, and gives refreshment for new ideas. Since white has an equal balance of all the colors, it can exemplify several meanings, with equality outweighing them all. White is a great color for simplicity, cleanliness, and idea creation; however, avoid using too much white as it can cause isolation, loneliness, and emptiness.

Orange has a very interesting psychological meaning as it combines red’s power and energy with yellow’s friendliness and fun. The mix makes orange a good representation of physical comfort in our warmth, food, and shelter. (It even stimulates our appetite so watch out if you’re hungry!)
Orange is also known to be a color of motivation, lends a positive attitude, and general enthusiasm for life. Overall, orange is great for bringing comfort in tough times, and creating a sense of fun or freedom in your visuals.

So now we know why they chose the colors they did.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Yep! It’s super weird how companies market things based on color, on objects that you wouldn’t expect. I get making food packaging certain colors because you’d eat what’s inside, but things like dishwashing/laundry tablets, toothpaste, and other things is so weird

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s manipulation is all.

In the 70’s there was all kinds of outrage over subliminal messages. In this iconic picture, supposedly they had arranged her hair so it said, “Sex” in one spot. I forge if it was on the left or the right.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Dutch. In Greco-Roman wrestling(think highschool, or college,) the two opponents wear red, or blue. Statistics in an article I read once, stated that the red garbed wrestler wins 51% of the time. This is speculated to be because of the intimidation factor of the color red…

Dutchess_III's avatar

And look at the colors people chose for flag that represent countries. Russia is a blazing red. Japan is red and white. ‘Murika is red, white, and blue.

Darth_Algar's avatar

The idea that they’re intentionally designing them to look like candy is ridiculous.

elbanditoroso's avatar

TO those who are promoting the idea that P&G did this on purpose, please answer this question:

Knowing that this is a society where people will sue manufacturers for little or no reason, and that costs (both dollar and image) of bad publicity would be horrendous,

WHAT would P&G’s motivation be for intentionally making the Tide pods look edible?

It just isn’t logical that they would do this. They have a 100+ year reputation. Why would they throw it out the window?

Answer: They wouldn’t

kritiper's avatar

No. If people are going to be stupid enough to eat that stuff, let them die and decrease the surplus population.

SergeantQueen's avatar

@elbanditoroso I’m not sure if I think it was intentional to make look like an edible food as much as I think it was intentional to make them look pretty enough for people to buy them. It would totally be dumb on their part to design poison to look like food knowing small children exist and dumb teens and suicidal people. I know lots of household objects put things in their products that deliberately make people through up when ingested, so people who eat them, whether accidentally or on purpose have a lower chance of getting even more ill, and those are things that 1) don’t look edible to begin with, and 2) smell, look, and taste gross.

Now, if P&G added some “raspberry flavoring” to their products, then I would say that the design was intentional.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

But they did it @helbanditoroso. They spend millions on marketing and someone in their marketing departments would have to have seen thesimilarity.
Maybe their legal department assured them the couldn’t be sued if people got stupid. If a kid dies it’s on the parents.

Darth_Algar's avatar

As to the idea that P&G could easily make them any color – I wouldn’t count on that necessarily. Each chemical you add to the mix is going to have some effect. Different coloring agents might, for example, stain clothing.

SergeantQueen's avatar

@Darth_Algar That’s what I was thinking as well. I know color is a marketing scheme, but chemicals may be hard to change colors with depending on what you are using, so it could be an unintentional thing as well

MrGrimm888's avatar

Like I asked. What color would be appropriate?

SergeantQueen's avatar

I don’t know. Honestly maybe a color that wasn’t bright and vibrant. Maybe a dark brown, black or grey.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Chocolate is brown, and black. Still a “candy” color…

Zero bars are grey…

Just saying, candy can be every color…

SergeantQueen's avatar

maybe it’s not in the colors then but the packaging? Make it so it can’t be easily bitten into, just thicker or made up of a material that can only be dissolved in water?
Then people might drink it… I don’t know every scenario seems to have that alternative of someone eating them. Maybe it really isn’t on marketing as much as it is on dumb ass people

MrGrimm888's avatar

Well. It’s really the container in which the products come. Pills have “child proof” containers. Most cleaning products are harder to access…

SergeantQueen's avatar

Lot’s of household items are, medicine included. Has that weird lock that you have to push then twist.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s the colors plus the swirl and the oval design that make it enticing.

I get the impression that they’re just in a box….you open the box and grab one. The box is cardboard. How much security can you have in a card board box?

As far as staining clothes, well, you have color-safe bleach now. I’m sure they spend millions creating a chemical color that doesn’t stain clothes.

Darth_Algar's avatar


- Your understanding of the packaging is terribly wrong. They come in an opaque bottle with a latched lid.

- You’re not sure, you just assume so because the assumption fits your favored narrative.

Dutchess_III's avatar

OK. I did say I’ve never seen one in real life. I don’t fall for fads. How does it latch and is it as secure as, say, a medicine bottle?

According to what I see on the internet, they also come in a zip lock package.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The ink is water soluble, just like soap colors.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My gosh! The free advertising this is generating for them is probably worth a lawsuit!

SergeantQueen's avatar

My family buys liquid detergent.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Gonna pour myself a nice glass with ice

Dutchess_III's avatar

From this article: “Younger children find laundry pods attractive because they can be mistaken for candy or a toy, according to a 2013 report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

“Tide led the liquid laundry detergent market in the U.S in 2017, with more than $1 billion in sales, according to figures from the Statista website.”

We use liquid too @SergeantQueen, although I prefer powder.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I am experimenting with health store unsented laundry soap to get rid of my itchy skin. Was expensive . I’m not as itchy , so I will keep it.

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