Cleaning products company Method has apologized for its controversial "Shiny Suds" video, which depicted fratboy-like chemical bubbles harassing a bathing woman, and has pulled the video from all "controlled sources." We've still got it, though, plus a statement from Method.
The video was part of a campaign the natural cleaning products company launched to support the Household Products Labeling Acts, which would require full disclosure of harmful chemicals in cleaning products. Method hired Droga5, an agency known for its successful use of digital and viral video campaigns. It went viral, all right, but probably not in the way the company hoped.
We've been getting emails all week from disgusted consumers, who were put off by the image of a woman cowering naked in the shower, victimized by her use of chemical-based products. As Hortense put it when she posted the video last weekend,
I'm really tired of the "advocacy" that relies upon humiliating women to push a point (see also: PETA). Why couldn't the dirty bubbles get drunk on their own chemicals and trash the bathroom? Why couldn't they leave graffiti all over the shower walls? Why couldn't they "move in" and start stinking up the place? Why does a woman have to get in the shower and get naked in front of a bunch of pervy bubbles, who essentially tell her she deserves it for putting them there in the first place (sound familiar?) so that Method soap can scare us all into switching over from Scrubbing Bubbles? The woman is seriously humiliated by the bubbles, who compliment her on her "core" and scream "Loofah! Loofah!" over and over again as they watch her wash up. It's supposed to be funny. So why does it make me feel so gross?
To its credit, Method appears to be responding to each of the complaints in detail, and on Wednesday, representatives informed emailers that the video had been taken down. (It's still available on some blogs, and we grabbed it just in case). We also contacted Droga5's CEO, Andrew Essex, for comment, but he said he would be unable to comment on the record. Here's a statement Method's spokeswoman just sent us:
"Thank you for your sincere feedback about our "Shiny Suds" video. It was not at all our intent to offend or promote any form of harassment. We understand the concerns associated with our video and are removing it from YouTube and all other controlled sources.
We heard and understood all of the feedback and concerns we received about the Shiny Suds video. We have removed the video from YouTube and other controlled sources, and we have reached out to every person who contacted us to let them know that we removed the video. We also apologized for any offense we caused.
Our intent in this campaign was to raise awareness for transparency in cleaning product labeling, and we will continue to push for that. I'm not sure if you recall, but at the end of the video, there was a link to a page where people could learn more about the Household Products Labeling Acts and submit letters to their representatives in support of the proposed legislation. Shortly after the video was released, more than 600 people had sent letters.
Method is a brand that is constantly growing and striving to improve. We've learned a great deal from this experience, and those learnings will certainly help us as we work on future projects."
So what do you think? Those of you who vowed to switch to Seventh Generation, is this good enough?