Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In Honor of Carnaval

Today is Carnaval! So to my Brasilian friends: Boas Festas e Feliz Carnaval! Bebe uma Skol pra mim. :)

In honor of this day, I would like to pick a little bone with Procter & Gamble. Namely, false advertisement.

Eric and I were picking up a few things at Wal-Mart on Sunday when we came across this:

Feeling a little sad that we wouldn't get to celebrate Carnaval in 2010, we couldn't have been more excited about our find. This time last year we were having a grand time in the fine city of Rio de Janeiro: watching parades at the Sambodromo, making our way across the packed beaches, and partying it up until after sunrise (well, as much as an 8-month pregnant woman can "party"). In 2010, we are freezing our hineys off under 10" of snow in Iowa.

But Procter & Gamble generously offers to let us spray a little Febreze air freshener, close our eyes, and be immediately taken back to the awesome celebration that is Carnaval.

We went on to read the can:

"Inspired by the lush green groves of acai berry palms that billow in the wind deep within the Amazon"

Wait a minute. Acai palms? The Amazon? What the heck do those have to do with Carnaval?!? I need to speak with the marketing department over at P&G. Seriously.

First off, let's talk culture and geography. Brasil is a real big country. The whole thing isn't a jungle. And the Amazon doesn't exactly attract Carnaval revelers. You see, acai palms do grow in the Amazon (kudos for getting that part right), but if you talk to anyone who has ever attended a Carnaval celebration in Brasil, I highly doubt visions of lush green groves comes to mind. Ever.

Now, I had a great time at both of the Brasilian Carnaval celebrations I attended. But let's talk about the smells of Carnaval in Brasil.
#1: Urine.
#2: Beer.
#3: Sweat.
I don't think you actually want your air freshener associated with these tantalizing scents.

Here's the deal Procter & Gamble, I can appreciate your efforts to market a fine product. And I also realize that the average person probably doesn't recognize your mistakes here. But really, a little research can go a real long way to avoid making you look like complete idiots.

Your name and description make about as much sense as calling a product "South Beach Breeze - Inspired by the towering Sequoias that grow tall above Yosemite National Park".

I can hear the Brasilians laughing at us from here.


Corinne said...

LMAO!!! I think I had heard of this particular product. They should just call it "Tropical Brazil" or "Amazon Mist" or some other such thing. You hit the smells of Carnaval on the head. Although, now they are arresting people for public urination, so maybe future Carnavals will smell less like urine :)

Claudia said...

Do you know they've got other smells like "Moroccan Bazaar" and "Thai Dragon Fruit"? I've never been to Morocco but I doubt the predominant smell in their markets is ginger or the whole Thailand smells like dragon fruit (check the Febreze website).
We can just laugh at this kind of things.

Jane said...

wow....couldn't agree more!

Fabio Bossard said...


that's exacly what I thought when I read this part:
"But Procter & Gamble generously offers to let us spray a little Febreze air freshener, close our eyes, and be immediately taken back to the awesome celebration that is Carnaval."

Rogério Penna said...

Haha, Emily really became part brazilian... I mean, who else but a brazilian would get all indignate over this kind of thing??

Emily, have you ever watched that James Bond film where he is in Brazil? You will LOVE it... specially the topless women in Rio (you must have seen hundreds), the Gauchos walking around Rio... and the fact that Bond is able to ride a car from Rio to the Amazon in a few minutes, and then take a boat in the amazon and fall in the Iguazu Falls :)