Marketing Wisdom: Woolite Says Torture Sells Soap!! Yowsah!!


This is a new Woolite commercial, directed by Rob Zombie:

You can find the video and the comments here. The comments appear to be pretty much ‘Oh Wow!!’, perhaps indicative of the mindless state of childish American intellect today.

The advertising industry has trivialized just about everything they’ve touched, so why should torture be an exception.

Woolite and its ad agency believe torture sells soap. They couldn’t stop at the concept of zombies, generally affectionately regarded by horror movie fans, selling soap. It is one thing to watch zombie horror in a horror movie, or even faux torture in shallow television shows and movies. You expect what you get. But to use torture as their metaphor to sell soap, to sell anything, in a television commercial?

I doubt that any of the untold numbers of people Americans have tortured would be inclined to buy Woolite after seeing this. We might keep in mind that any number of them have been turned into zombies by torture: their lives destroyed, their minds broken, their hopes and beliefs shattered.

Given everything that’s been learned about torture, not only in human history, but in the last ten years, what kind of mind, what kind of culture is so debased that it thinks using torture to sell soap is cute?



13 Responses

  1. Wow. That was pretty bad. Might as well have shown waterboarding (using Woolite infused water of course).


    • Yeah, keeping it clean for the kiddies.


  2. I just hope this is not an early precursor to Ortega Y Gasset’s darkest possibilities.


    • Okay, you can elaborate on that if you like…


  3. Dear elvis – I fear judgement has up and deserted us. How the hell did that get thorugh? At agencies and compainies there are multiple committees who look at this stuff. Did none of them see that???


    • I covered that when I mentioned the ‘debased culture’. 🙂

      Too many people have gotten too insensitive to the meanings of things. We live in a culture that considers it okay to use anything, anything at all, to sell stuff to the public, because in America selling stuff and making money are the highest values of all. Everything, no matter how sick, how evil, how foul, is grist for the adman’s mill.


      • And indeed Ric, profit is our god. I am very depressed.


        • Ah, but dear, when it comes to profit I am an atheist.



  4. I’m only 21, but I found this ad very disturbing and had to look it up to see people’s reactions. To my horror, people were actually not disturbed and even said they like the commercial. I’m scared for what the next generation will consider normal.


    • From my perspective you are the next generation…


      • I’m aware of that 🙂 I guess I’m more conservative than my many of my peers. But as I said, if my generation has come to consider this ad as fun and ‘cool’, I don’t want to see what else they will trivialize. The limits of what is acceptable for daytime TV just keeps on being pushed.


        • I just cancelled my cable TV last month. Got totally fed up with the crap and the manipulation. The few things I enjoyed weren’t worth the aggravation and the cost. Gonna miss me my English soccer though.


  5. This ad was running on Blog del Narco. This is a Mexican website that presents information about the killings in the drug wars, along with very explicit and gory pictures of decapitated, dismembered, and flayed bodies of real people, as well as execution videos posted by cartel assassins, such as one yesterday in which a man was decapitated with a chainsaw. What is the message sent by the Woolite ad on that site, stating “End the Torture… and save $2?”

    This is the strangest juxtaposition of ad and content I have ever seen.


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