Powerful cleaning

ultra-concentrated joy

Who needs Zen when there’s ultra-concentrated Joy? Of course, the claims are lies: it’s a cheap detergent, no more concentrated than any of the competing brands, and a little bit of it doesn’t go very far at all. But at least it doesn’t claim to be “Home-E-Zential,” or (like another one of Trader Joe’s cleaning products) Next to Godliness.

I have to say, though, I think the soap makers are thinking too small. Cleaning needn’t be merely joyful, meditative, or morally improving; it can and probably should be a life-changing experience. I’m sure an Orgasm detergent will be coming soon. But what about Epiphany? What about Jesus?! This is America. If we can expect epiphanies for breakfast, it may take more than mere joy to clean the dishes.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

16 Comments


  1. Well, there used to be commercials for Herbal Essences shampoo that boasted of the “Totally Organic Experience” you’d have using is…while showing women having totally orgasmic experiences in the shower & elsewhere whenever they touched their organically clean hair.

    I checked the Herbal Essences website, and they’re now encouraging women to have a Long Term Relationship with their hair. There’s a blog-post in that, I’m sure!

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  2. PS: I once met a woman named Dawn who had a sister named Joy, and their mother used to tease them by saying she’d named them after dish detergent. And sure enough, Dawn got jealous when Mom bought Joy, and Joy got jealous when Mom bought Dawn.

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  3. Joe – Indeed. I wasn’t sharp enough to figure out how to reference that, though.

    Lorianne – Between your two comments, I think you just doubled the value of this post. I love the anecdote about Joy and Dawn! The “long-term relationship” bit is weird and creepy, and therefore also appealing, but probably not something I’ll blog – I always buy the cheapest, nastiest shampoo available.

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  4. Don’t worry, Dave: Herbal Essences is a girly shampoo, so you’d get lots of weird looks at the store if you bought it. (Unless, of course, you announced loudly that you were buying it for your Totally Organic girlfriend.)

    What I find fascinating is the fact that a shampoo marketed solely to women focuses on orgasms and long-term relationships to reach that target audience. It makes me wonder what a shampoo commercial marketed exclusively for men would look like. “Buy shampoo X. It’s cheap, and it smells like beer”?

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  5. I’m still on the search for Mr. Sparkle.

    “I’m disrespectful to dirt!
    Can you see I am serious!

    Get out of my way, all of you!

    This is no place for loafers.

    Join me or die.

    Can you do any less?

    For lucky best wash, use Mr. Sparkle.”

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  6. Lorianne – No, I think it would be more like, “Buy shampoo X. It’s dirt cheap, but if you use it, beautiful women will throw themselves at you – just as they do when you drink cheap beer.”

    Keith – Thanks for expanding my pop-culture horizons. I do regret that my lack of television has deprived me of the Simpsons.

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  7. Alas, I see Lorianne has preceded me in enlightening you (if enlightening can be used in this context) about Herbal Essences and its purportedly orgasm-inducing shower experiences. See what you’re missing out on by not having a television. There must be a YouTube video…

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  8. Epiphanies for breakfast? Is that like the White Queen’s “six impossible things before breakfast”…?

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  9. Leslee – Ya know, I think I’m a little out of out of my depth here.

    I don’t know if YouTube has the original ad, but there sure seem to be a lot of parodies.

    Sally – Beats me. I haven’t read the book. But given that it’s by a Unitarian minister, I suspect it’s in earnest. Which rather frightens me.

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  10. hm…there might be a sultry, bubble bath approach to dishwashing liquid, no? You know, dim the lights, squirt “oh so you” detergent in the sink, fill slowly to the sound of in-the-mood music and slllide the dishes into the water sort of thing?
    Can’t imagine why they haven’t thought of that one yet. (Or maybe they have.)
    “Oh so you” – for the sexiest dishes in the neighborhood.

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  11. Heh heh. They probably have thought of it. But the market might not be there for more upscale folks (well, almost everyone’s more upscale than me) who tend to use dishwashers. Actually, I really don’t mind doing dishes — like a lot of people, it’s getting up from the table and staring in on them that takes a little work. So maybe that’s where the appeal to Joy, Zen, Dawn, and other warm and fuzzy things comes in.

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  12. Hmm, clearly I am missing some good soap marketing opportunities.

    Some of my better-selling soaps are the “Scentual” line though. But the one men buy most? Nothing about cheapness or beer… The description reads, in part: “We strongly refute the jillions of claims that the smell of Bay Rum acts as an aphrodisiac on women.” :)

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  13. “Scentual,” eh?

    For bath soap right now I’m using this Lebanese stuff made from olive oil, which a local business woman imports in her luggage whenever she returns from Turkey. It smells good, yes – it’s all I can do to keep from taking bites of it – but it’s also good and cheap. :)

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