The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Point/Counterpoint: Should businesses capitalize on the Tide Pod Challenge?

Consumer safety groups have warned that laundry detergent packets could be easily eaten by children who might mistake them for candy. A child died in Kissimmee, Florida, after eating a packet of All detergent. (Tom Burton/Orlando Sentinel/MCT)

This world continually shocks me. Every time I go online, I find a new stupid trend that could potentially harm someone. And what is 2018’s new fad? Tide Pods. Not using the laundry detergent to do laundry, no — instead, some brilliant people out there are eating them.

It’s 2018, everyone — this is the FUTURE.

Now, besides the true absurdity of the situation, it raises the question: When does this joke become dangerous? Obviously, people shouldn’t eat soap, but from a marketing standpoint, is it OK to capitalize on the Tide Pod phenomenon to bring in business?

For instance, some doughnut businesses have started to sell Tide Pod-theme doughnuts, and there are now even Tide Pod-themed candies. It’s a way to focus on a current trend and use it to usher in customers.

As wholesome and innocent as this sounds, this approach to the meme is wrong. When businesses use Tide Pods to promote their products, they only end up highlighting the Tide Pod challenge and enticing more people to try it.

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I wish I could say otherwise, but these people are relentless. I witnessed someone taking a dab of a Tide Pod online — because if eating the literal laundry detergent wasn’t enough, inhaling it into your lungs must be better.

I don’t think the businesses are inherently malicious in promoting the Tide Pod craze, but I honestly don’t think that some people are rational enough not to eat Tide Pods. Sadly, my faith in human intelligence, or human survival instincts for that matter, is not enough to trust that they won’t take the marketing technique the wrong way.

I wish I could say that people are smart enough to to read the instructions that clearly say, DO NOT INGEST. I wish we, as humans, with all our advances in technology and science, would be able to distinguish a tasty snack and laundry detergent.

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But I am afraid we can’t. So encouraging the Tide Pod challenge jokingly or not is wrong, because there are some people who just can’t tell what a joke is.

The Tide Pod challenge has swept across social-media platforms: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Its crazed participants have posted tens of thousands of videos, statuses and snapchats biting into Tide Pods. The challenge has become a running joke for millennials.

Counterpoint: Tide Pod-themed products are good business

By Lucee Laursen

[email protected]

Since the Tide Pod challenge has blown up the Internet, businesses have started making Tide Pod-theme products. Hurts Donuts made a Tide Pod frosted doughnut, and many restaurants now serve tri-colored shots that replicate a Tide Pod. Although these products are completely satirical, some believe that they encourage teens and tweens to partake in the dangerous challenge and should therefore be banned.

I believe businesses should be able to sell Tide Pod-themed products. Consumers drive product innovation. Because consumers continue to obsess over Tide Pods, they have driven businesses to produce products that incorporate the theme. Because of this, businesses cannot be blamed for creating Tide Pod products or expected to stop.

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It is true that businesses cannot sell products that cause harm. But arguing that Tide Pod-themed doughnuts and shots encourage people to possibly take part in a challenge that has the potential to cause harm is a stretch at best.

Regardless, Tide has provided its customers with a warning label on its product. This means consumers assume risk for using pods. Tide has done its due diligence. Asserting that all businesses should be prohibited from creating Tide Pod-themed products is absolutely absurd.

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