16 October 2006

Not so Fabulous

The Choice is Yours

Originally uploaded by ShutterCat7.

The shortest distance between two points
is the attention span of the average consumer.

Apparently several people have become sick from drinking the cleanser Fabuloso. The very colorful clear liquid looks like a sports drink or kid's drink, especially to people upon whom reading a product label is an imposition.

I cannot figure out what the rationale is on the part of the manufacturer of Fabuloso. Coloring and perfuming a cleanser like a fruit-flavored drink makes no sense unless they're thinking that the pleasant color and smell will make people want to clean more and buy more of the product. Such reasoning is specious at best and definitely ill-adivsed, given that we live in an age and culture where people do not assume responsibility for their actions and will use any excuse to take someone to court. Manufacturers simply cannot afford ambiguity in product presentations. If it looks and/or smells like something out of the convenience store cooler, someone will probably try to consume it.

This isn't the first product using attractive colors and smells to camoflage and distract. If you go to some automated car washes, the suds are multi-colored and given a bubblegummish perfume. Bleach brands now feature spring, mountain, and tropical scents to boost sales since the smell of bleach is quite offensive to most people. But they don't put fruity dyes in the bleach and the special scent only goes so far.

What should be done about this? I would first say that consumers have a clear responsibility to slow down and pay attention to what they are holding over a glass pouring. The stores selling the product need to clearly mark what the product is and maybe distribute some information to consumers to help get their attention. Ultimately the fix is for the manufacturer to be more careful in their product design. People should use it more because it is a good product that does what it promises, not because it looks like grapeade.

No comments: