Napisan as a cultural artefact: No, really, it’s interesting!

So, for uni this week, I’m required to give a ten minute speech on a ‘cultural artefact’. This can range from a family photo, through to a doll, through to a movie or TV show. I chose a Napisan container. Oh, yes, I did.

Imagine if archeologists, 2000 years into the future, unearthed a Napisan container. What would they think? Would they wonder why it’s such an obnoxious shade of pink? Would they wonder why we got so excited over the ‘Oxi Action Intelligence’? Or would they simply conclude that there was some secret about laundry that only women knew- and that’s why men never did the laundry?

So how is a Napisan container a cultural artefact? Because of what it represents. Not only does it represent centuries of domestic tasks completed by females, but it’s also symbolic of the time- the Napisan commercials would have us believe that laundry isn’t just a chore- it can solve a myriad of problems. I’ll show you a clip later that may explain this better.

Facts about Napisan:

-Napisan is part of a larger set of products that sit under the ‘Vanish’ banner. These products include Preen clothes & carpet products

-Owned by Reckitt Benckiser, who also own Mortein, Dettol, Air Wick, and Finish dishwashing detergent. Napisan was launched by RB in 1972.<

-In 2007 Vanish hits the world No.1 spot. From it’s UK launch in 1999, Vanish becomes market leader in 75% of the 57 countries it now sells in.

-Napisan’s motto is “Trust Pink, forget stains”. Funnily enough, after viewing over 10 minutes worth of Napisan advertisements online (both Australian & international ads) I couldn’t find one single man doing the washing. In fact, the only thing men seemed to do in Napisan’s advertisements were dirty the clothes.

The advertisements and promotion of Napisan are what infuriate me the most. In this day and age, there’s no need to insinuate that women are the ones that do the laundry. I know plenty of men who are capable of sorting whites from colours, and putting them in a washing machine. It’s this ‘discourse’ of women being expected to do the clothes washing that frustrates me the most. Yes, these jokes are funny, and I can see that. But what isn’t as funny is that I haven’t found one, single Napisan ad that shows a male washing clothes. Not one. And that’s part of what’s shaped my history. That this stuff still exists- it’s what has made me want to go to university, so I can better understand it, and then later, reject it.

So just to show you some of the more typical stereotypes that are found in laundry detergent ads, i’m going to show you a brief clip from youtube.

Finally, the ‘pink’ factor.

Isn’t it a particularly horrific shade of pink? There are a few reasons that I suspect they marketers chose this shade:

-It stands out on the shelf. Doesn’t it? I mean, Barbie has already claimed pink, but HOT PINK? They’ve taken it to a whole new level.

-They’re jumping on the breast cancer bandwagon. Excuse my cynicism, but I’m sure the thought floated through some marketer’s brain at some point- that some customers would associate the pink with breast cancer, also. It can’t hurt.

-It’s a product for women, duh! Therefore, it needs to look pretty.

So why is it? What is it about laundry that screams out ‘WOMAN’S JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!”.

Honestly, I have no idea. I can point to the history of laundry, and say that is was used as a form of repression, of keeping women at home while men were out making the money. I could say that laundry is a woman’s job, and a man’s job is to mow the lawns. There are a bajillion reasons as to why this discourse continues in society, but the only conclusion I’m going to make here is this. Napisan has become my permanent yard stick of how far women have (or haven’t) come in society. The minute I see a Napisan ad starring a male who appears to be genuinely interested in Oxiaction Intelligence, that’s the minute I start celebrating. Because I’m rather sick of my gender being linked to the boring process of cleaning clothes- I think it’s about time we got out and started making those dirty instead.

Napisan, Round Four: Time to cartoonify the bastards

I recently decided to channel my hatred of Napisan (documented here, here and here) into a series of cartoons. Yes, it was for a university project- but it was also my only remaining outlet short of marching up to the head office of Reckitt Benckiser (the company that owns Napisan. And yes, I know their name. Bite me.) and personally informing them of their general fuck-wittage-ness.

Strap yourselves in, dear audience. We’re going to careen through four Napisan ads, all A4 in size, and heavy on sarcasm:

Ad numero uno. I soon figured out that colour cartoons are prettier- but for now, bear with me. I know it’s black and white. Just think of it as a simile for ‘The Wizard of Oz’. Soon, everything will be in FANTASTIC, FULL STRENGTH COLOUR, my children!

Ahhh, ad number two. Featuring one obsessive compulsive mother, one idiotic father, and one photographer a little too click-happy.

And my personal favourite: the ‘frwustration’ ad. Not only does it feature a random appearance from the Napisan Girl, but it also stars one idiotic, whiny child and one ‘frwustrated’ mother.

If you would like to view the images in a larger size, simply double click. Otherwise, all opinions are welcome in the comments section! Enjoy the sarcasm!

Not another motherf******* stain!

Don’t worry, kidlets, I haven’t forgotten you. I’ve simply been in self-enforced hibernation, due to work and study. I know, I know- it’s just not good enough.

But all this will change shortly. Mostly because my FAVOURITE Napisan ad is now finally on Youtube:

I especially love the part where Mum FREAKS THE FUCK OUT because Dumb Dad was silly enough to put on a shirt that has a stain on it. Holy moley.

Anyway, shall we have a play-by-play of this 30 second mind fuck? I say yes. Let’s begin.

Mum’s organising the kiddies and her Mere Male into a pretty pose for their pretty picture. Look at the perfect nuclear family! But Mum is unaware that disaster is ABOUT TO STRIKE. What will it be?!?!?!?!!?!?

“Hang on…that’s not…but I USED DETERGENT, MOTHERFUCKER!!!!”

*Husband grins. He’s remembering the hot dog with mustard he had for lunch that caused that stain. Mmmmm, hot dog.*


(As a side note, what sort of a photographer takes one photo? And also, hasn’t this bitch heard of Photoshop. Its capabilities certainly extend to eliminating a stain on one’s shirt, I can guarantee that.)
*cue patronising Napisan lady, or as I like to call her, Napi-Girl)
“A hidden stain”, she says. “What a shame.”
No, Napi-Girl, I’ll tell you what’s a SHAME. The shame is all about the Third World countries, poverty, starvation, honour killings, and discrimination. That’s a shame. A stain on some dude’s shirt. NOT A SHAME.
Slight exaggeration I think, Napisan.
But please, continue with your monologue- it was just so….diverting.
“All that time and effort wasted. Washing….”
“While you could have been receiving a good spanking from your husband…..”
“…all in vain…”
(Oh, okay, fine. I made the spanking bit up. But don’t tell me it didn’t break up what has to be the most predictable set of images in history!!!)
“Detergent alone isn’t always enough!!”
*cue the Napisan packet that appears to have been dipped it something radioactive, it’s glowing that brightly*
“…This wouldn’t have happened if you had added Vanish Napisan!”
Ahhhhhh. The perfect family picture. Not a stain in sight.
My response to this?
Lady, why the fuck isn’t your husband doing some of the washing, drying, and ironing???????????????
That’s all, folks.

You are doing that wrong: Napisan

I’ve never concealed my absolute hatred for the Napisan advertisements. They reek of so many ‘isms’ it’s hard to just pin some down for the purpose of this post.

However, I enjoy giving them a verbal arse-kicking, so persevere I will.

Today, I’m looking at the ‘Napisan OxyAction Intelligence’….something. Christ. Could they fit any more descriptive words in the name of a simple washing detergent?

So, shall we sit through the entire advertisement, and then discuss?

Good. I thought you’d agree.

Now before you commence stabbing yourself in the eyeball with the nearest pen, just breathe. I know. I feel the same. The ad seems to be targeting dumb boys and their even dumber mothers. However, let’s go through an alternate dialogue, and a more interesting and realistic ending to this entire set up of an ad….my comments/ alternative dialogue is in italics below….Don’t say you weren’t warned

Little boy: “Mum, what’s frustration??”  …(“Mum, what’s fwustratchion?”)

Mum: “When I used to find stains after the wash” … (“Having my dumb arse son asking me questions while I do the fucking laundry and he doesn’t offer to help”)

LB : “Whhhhhhhhhy?” (“Whhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhy? I don’t want to helllllppp, I’ll just sit here and watch like Daddy does”)

M: “I had to re-wash and that drove Mummy mad” (so mad that she now talks in third person????? And there’s NOTHING ELSE that drives her mad? I find this somewhat hard to believe, Napisan).

M: “Now I use new Napisan OxyAction Intelligence”

LB: “Whhhhhhhhhhhhhy?”  …(“Geez Mum, I don’t care about the laundry detergent, I just asked for a fucking definition of frustration. This isn’t Danoz Direct”)

M: “Its new intelligent formula knows where the stains are”  (At this point, I usually freak out. How the hell does laundry detergent know where the stains are? Christ, I didn’t realise we had this kind of technology… why don’t we put it towards something more useful, like, say….world poverty???)

LB: “How?”

(Cue attractive young lady in an eye watering bright pink shirt)

MUM: “Fuck!! Where the fuck did you come from?? Get out of my house, lady!!!!”

LITTLE BOY: “Whhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhy?”

PINK LADY:  “New Napisan Oxyaction Intelligence has new technology that seeks out stains in the wash, even the ones you didn’t notice!”

MUM: “Shut the fuck up and GET OUT! No one…Hang on. It seeks out the stains I DIDN’T NOTICE?!?!?!?!?!FHOES;EGJKASGRBEJKLGJT4RLHNDRK.BTRNSD./!!!!!”

LB: “Whoaaaa! Can she do my homework?”

PINK LADY: “No. I’m taking your mother on an extended holiday to the magical world of Napisan, where there is lots of pink, and no whiny little beeatches like you”

Don’t tell me you wouldn’t enjoy the other version more. That little kid is a whiny beeatch.