Tide’s parent company Procter and Gamble has rolled out the newest packaging design for Tide laundry detergent. While PandG has named the packaging the “Tide Eco-Box” and CNN describes the design as a shoe box, users across Twitter are drawing more comparisons to boxed wine.
Those on Twitter are not far off on their comparisons, as the new boxes function similarly to wine sold in a box. The liquid detergent formula, which is made of less water than standard Tide detergent, comes in a sealed bag that is then put in a cardboard box. It also features a twist-to-open spout, a pull-out stand, and a measuring cup.
According to David Luttenberger, global packaging director at market research firm Mintel, the design is perfect for e-commerce. That is precisely why PandG released this design, as an increasing number of customers are purchasing Tide detergent through online retailers like Amazon and Walmart.
The design is not only meant to make the shipping easier on Amazon’s end but to help the environment as well. In general, companies achieve eco-friendly transportation by using recycled boxes and bags to ship their goods.
The Tide Eco-Box checks off the environmentally friendly box in its use of 60% less plastic than what shippers need when transporting a comparable 150-ounce bottle of detergent. This traditional detergent generally needs additional layers of cardboard boxing or bubble wrap, generating plastic waste and taking up more room in delivery trucks.
While these innovative boxes are set to become available starting in Jan. 2019, those on Twitter and other platforms are expressing concern over the design’s similarity to boxed wine and the relatively recent Tide Pod Challenge conundrum. In late 2017 and early 2018, the Internet was flooded with memes about eating Tide Pods. Meme-makers joked — mostly — that the colorful appearance of the pods made them look like candy and as a result were very tempting to pop into their mouths.
Despite the real-life deaths that eating Tide Pods has actually caused for small children and older people with cognitive impairments, the memes transformed into the Tide Pod Challenge, which dared social media users to eat the detergent packets. After the challenge took off, platforms like YouTube had to remove videos featuring the challenge and Tide itself had to release a statement telling people to not eat the pods.
This hysteria had calmed down by the end of spring this year, but Twitter users have pointed out that this new design may just feed right back into it. In response to the boxed wine comparison, Tide’s parent company released a statement to BuzzFeed.
“We all know laundry detergent is for cleaning clothes. To be sure people know this is detergent, we put a large picture of our Tide bottle on the side of the box. Whether your Tide comes in a box or a bottle, it should be stored up and away, out of the reach of children,” read the statement from Proctor and Gamble.