Warning: Don’t eat that Tide Pod

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TideYesterday, I came across a Tweet from PR Daily  (one of my favorite handles to follow) with the title “Don’t eat laundry detergent. Over-communicating is the new communicating.” That caught my eye immediately so I clicked on link to the blog post, Communicators rush to combat ‘TidePodChallenge’ phenomenon, by Beki Winchel

The blog post has many examples of the over-communication from media and social media platforms warning teens against eating Tide Pods. Such as:

CNN reported: Tide's parent company, Procter & Gamble (PG), told CNN in a statement that "nothing is more important to us than the safety of people who use our products. We are deeply concerned about conversations related to intentional and improper use of liquid laundry pacs and have been working with leading social media networks to remove harmful content that is not consistent with their policies," said a company representative.

ABC News reported: Laundry detergent pods contain numerous chemicals that are potentially harmful if they are swallowed or otherwise ingested. Chief among these concerns is a chemical known as 1,4 Dioxane. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, exposure to this compound can cause eye and nose irritation, kidney problems and possible long-term lung damage. These effects are unlikely to occur if the product is used appropriately.

A Tide spokesman issued a statement to ABC News, which read, in part: "Laundry pacs are made to clean clothes," the statement said. "They should not be played with, whatever the circumstance, even if meant as a joke."Tide

Which got me to thinking about what types of “common sense” things should really just be common sense and what things really need to be over-communicated.

From a Fox News article:

  • Children's Dimetapp Warns: Be Careful When Driving a Motor Vehicle
  • iPod Shuffle Warns: Do Not Eat iPod Shuffle
  • A Curling Iron Warns: Do Not Use While Bathing or in Shower
  • A Cell Phone Manual Warns: Don't Try to Dry Your Phone in a Microwave Oven

From an ABC News article:

  • A washing machine warns: Do not put any person in this washer.
  • A pen warns: Pen caps can obstruct breathing. Keep out of mouth.

PR professionals have their list of warnings as well:  photos need to be high resolution (not taken with a cell phone) for media relations purposes, be on time, check and double-check spelling. And while these things might seem “common sense” to us, it is always a good idea to be reminded.

Rachel Brockway
Rachel Brockway
A former HMA Public Relations employee.

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