Thursday, July 26, 2007

Might be a sellout but at least I'm clean

About three weeks ago I received an email from a very nice woman in California asking if I would be willing to review a laundry detergent, which she would mail to me at no charge, and then post my review here on my blog.

My first thought was: wow, seriously? Do that many people actually read this that someone wants to use me to market a product. I was feeling kinda good, a little proud. But then I started thinking: if I do this, am I a sellout? Will people think less of me? More importantly, will people be less interested in reading the blog?

I thought about it for a day, and after confirming that I could be as honest as I wished, I accepted. Pretty much it came down to this: no salary starting in August, free laundry soap.

So, for those of you in the U.S., keep reading. The detergent I received is Wisk 3X Multi-Action. When she told me the product name I got a bit nostalgic because my mum used Wisk (the original version) throughout my childhood. Turns out though that Unilever, the company that makes Wisk (and who by the by, hired me to do a Dove commercial several years ago but that's another post for another day), took the brand out of Canada a few years ago. I realized this while I was perusing the shelves at Loblaws looking for it. It seems that Unilever replaced Wisk with Sunlight in Canada. So, we do in fact have Sunlight 3x Multi-Action but it has different flavours as it were. Don't know why they did this but right then I decided I better not like the Wisk too much or it would be tantamount to developing a taste for Payday or Baby Ruth.

Anywho. As detergent goes, this is pretty damn good. It smells good (original scent is what I have) but doesn't leave much of a scent on the dried clothes, just a hint of one, which I really appreciated. It gets the clothes very clean - cleaner than my clothes have been in a long time. Sorry, Tide, seems you've been replaced. It also doubles as a stain treater. How cool... that means one less bottle of stuff in my laundry room. If you check out the Wisk website you'll see that beyond its cleaning power, Unilever is really marketing this as an environmental product. Through a little caluclator program you can determine how much less gas, plastic and cardboard you will help to save by using the product. The reason behind this is because you use 3x less detergent per load than a traditional detergent. I found this pretty damn cool too. Really - you won't believe how little you actually put in. So there. I liked it. I'll very likely buy the Sunlight version. Now I go into my honest bit.

If Unilever is really serious about the environment, they would sell this in bigger bottles. If you really want us to save on plastic, scrap the tiny bottle this comes in and sell it in the traditional big bottles, at least as an option to the consumer. Yes, the price would be quite high, but I'd be buying the equivalent amount over time anyway. My next issue: why, seriously, do detergents need dyes? I couldn't find out on the Wisk site if there is a dye-free option. Sunlight has one (dye and scent free) called Sensitive Skin. Come on guys... why do you think I need my detergent to be a very "clean" blue colour? I get it, you're trying to play with my mind and make me think that because it is icy blue it somehow has more cleaning power. Please, just take out all the dyes. I know it gets clothes clean. We all do. Give us some credit and do a little extra for the Earth.

Now for my really big beef with laundry detergent and all liquid cleaning products: I honestly can't see any reason why there aren't refill stations in the grocery stores. In our local environmental shop here in Ottawa, Arbour, you can refill a number of cleaning products, saving countless plastic containers, fuel and energy to carry and produce them, not to mention the energy to recycle them. Why not the big companies? I see this as a huge opportunity for a company like Unilever to take a serious leadership role in making a big environmental impact and in so doing, gain some serious customer loyalty. If they took the step to do this, they would have me for life.

As I mentioned, I liked the product. I'll buy the Sunlight version. I liked the mild scent (can't speak to Sunlight's) and I liked how clean the clothes were and how little detergent is used. There is a high-efficiency washer version too, by they way. Now, if Unilever would just take my other suggestions I might just turn this into the Unilever fan club site.

There you have it folks. Hope you come back for some regular, product-free posts. But hey, I'll be smelling good and looking clean for a couple of months.


juls said...

How do you get these offers?

On another note, I was on the Real Savvy Mom Blogger site and didn't see where I could add my blog to their site. Do you remember how you did that?

Karen said...

Seriously, the woman just sent me an email. I didn't solicit anything.

For Real Savvy Moms, I'll have to look into it for you. I don't remember.

Shan said...

Hey Karen, welcome back. I missed you.

I got the same unsolicited email. Nice to know I was in such great company. I was totally prepared to sell out too, but she never got back to me. I think maybe it not being available in Canada was a deal breaker for us. Great review though, you did a great job.

Anonymous said...

Funny... as I was reading the top part of your review I was thinking -- yeah, I use the 3X stuff (different brand name, same bottle shape etc.), but WHY can't I just get a huge tub of the stuff! Well... I guess great minds think alike. If only they'd sell me a bottle the size of the non-dilute stuff (for $25 or something), I'd be very happy (c; And frankly, I like it when my clothes stink of something, but couldn't care less about the colour of the liquid (unless it dyes my clothes some terrible colour).
You ARE a freebie magnet! Good on ya! (I spent about $600 on discount shopping today -- excellent for the wardrobe and the new basement guest room, but still a bit shocking!)

Arabella said...

Hi Shan --

I am the person who sent Karen the Wisk 3x Multi-Action detergent. I don't remember receiving your e-mail. We have now finished shipping the bottles, but please feel free to e-mail me for future products.

Take care,

Andrew said...

I just found this site in google. I work for the Unilever detergent plant in Baltimore, MD and I just wanted to let you know we have begun to make a 150 oz. bottle of the high density liquids. Also, there is a version of Wisk called Wisk free and clear which comes without dyes or perfumes. It is also made in the brand name All which is the same general detergent also made by Unilever just with different cleaning agents.

Thanks for the free publicity