Known for decades for claims that its detergent removed "ring around the collar," a newly formulated Wisk has declared a "state of detergency" on deeper sources of dirt. The dogged spokesman in a series of new online videos may be over-the-top, but as Consumer Reports tests of laundry detergent have shown, his claims are not. Wisk Deep Clean tops our Ratings of detergents for regular top-loaders and its formula for high-efficiency washers is recommended as well.
With sales and an advertising budget that pale in comparison to Tide's, Wisk is taking a risk on a goofy mock documentary called, "Inside dirt: The dirty truth about your clean laundry." The premise is that even newly laundered clothes harbor hidden sweat and body oil. To prove his point, the "filmmaker" confronts people at gyms and laundromats and uses an ultraviolet light to expose the failings of their laundry products.
"This is a brand that has had a history of being very straight talking and telling it like it is," Cheryl McKenzie, an account director for the video company, told the New York Times. "Ring around the collar was an issue that no one was talking about and was taboo at the time, and the new taboo that no one is talking about is that while you can't see the dirt that's in your clothes, it's there."
In Consumer Reports tests of laundry detergent, we measure overall cleaning performance and how well the detergent removes grass stains, blood and dust sebum, which is commonly called ring around the collar. In our tests of regular Wisk Deep Clean the detergent was very good overall, able to remove grass and dust sebum but not successful at removing blood. Wisk's HE version had similar scores but faced tough competition from six varieties of Tide, four of which bested it in our tests.
Launched as the first liquid laundry detergent in 1956, Wisk became a household name in 1968 with its ring around the collar campaign. This month it hit another company milestone with the launch of single-dose pods called Wisk Deep Clean PowerBlasts, a segment where it faces tough competition from, yes, Tide, whose Tide Pods scored very good in our tests.
—Mary H.J. Farrell