For the first time in its 66 year history, some Tide commercials are featuring husbands doing the laundry. Imagine that—men washing and folding their family's clothes. What's next? Vacuuming? Maybe so. Men are spending two more minutes a day on chores than they did eight years ago—an average of 16 minutes a day. At that pace it'll take a while for them to catch up to the 52 minutes of daily housework performed by women. Still, cleaning brands are taking notice and retooling their ads and products to appeal to men.
"We're trying to reflect this new household as much as possible," Chris Lillich, a marketing director for Procter & Gamble (maker of Tide) told the Wall Street Journal. That's why Tide is featuring New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees on the bottle of Tide Plus Febreze Sport "with victory fresh scent." TV host Nick Lachey is also a spokesman. "A guy is going to look at those two as credible sources of information," Lillich told the newspaper.
Tide Plus Febreze HE cleaned like a champ in Consumer Reports tests of laundry detergent. It was very good overall in cleanability, which includes removing such stains as grass, chocolate ice cream, tea and ring around the collar. It fell short on removing blood stains. And at 18 cents per load was neither the most nor least expensive of the many we tested.
Tide pods are another product developed by P&G in part to enable laundry novices to get the right amount of detergent without measuring. In our tests, the Tide pods matched the performance of the Tide Plus Febreze and also did very well in cold water washes. (But as we've written before, colorful laundry pods pose a danger to young children who may ingest them so should be stored safely.)
Although the shift to shared housework may seem glacially slow—in the past 50 years men have gone from doing less than one-fifth of the chores to almost one-third, says sociologist Scott Coleman—the Wall Street Journal predicts that the trend towards pitching cleaning products to men is here to stay. As Coleman commented, "Gender roles fall away when they no longer make sense."
—Mary H.J. Farrell