What Febreze is Not Telling You
Febreeze, the product whose mission is to remove offensive odors from air and fabric, offers its products in a variety of sensual and indulgent fragrances like Sweet Citrus & Zest, Mediterranean Lavender, and Apple Spice & Comfort. Mmmmm.
And now, there’s a new offering to delight your sniffer.
“Alaskan Springtime” probably sounded good in some marketing meeting in a conference room at Proctor & Gamble headquarters in Cincinnati. “Alaska… That’s clean and refreshing, right? Slap a picture of an Alpine dogwood on that can, and we’re good to go.”
Voilà – “Alaskan Springtime,” or if you’re fancy, or Canadian, “Printemps en Alaska.”
Being right in the middle of an “Alaskan Springtime,” I was curious about how they came up with the name, so I looked on their website. I didn’t find anything specifically about the new scent, but I did find this:
How was name chosen? Published 04/04/2002 01:49 PM | Updated 03/08/2011 11:33 AM
Q: Why did you choose the name “Febreze”?
A: “Febreze” is meant to make you think of its use on fabrics and the clean smell. People also told us they liked it.
This made me even more willing to bet that whoever showed up at the brainstorming session, all eager to share the idea has not actually been to Alaska in the springtime. If they had, they would know two things:
1) Alaska doesn’t really have a springtime. We have 3 1/4 seasons. Summer, Aut…, Winter, and Breakup. In other parts of the country, Aut is referred to as “Autumn,” but here it doesn’t last long enough. One day the leaves are green, the next day they are brown, the next day there is a wind and they blow away, and then there is snow. For seven months. And finally, we have Breakup.
Breakup is reserved for the time most other places call “Spring.” After seven months of snow accumulation, when temperatures finally reach the point above which water freezes, we realize that winter has consequences. As the snow melts, things… show up. And I’m not talking about crocuses, or snowdrops, or bunny rabbits. I’m talking about everything that’s been dropped, dumped, blown off the back of a truck, or otherwise found its way into the ever-accumulating snow pile, which hides these things and gives Alaska that pristine “winter wonderland” vibe.
The melt is like a time lapse photo series of an archaeological dig. Artifacts emerge daily as the months of precipitation disappear from the top down – fast food wrappers, pants, window blinds, lumpy things wrapped in tarps, remnants of birds, styrofoam takeout packages, former cardboard boxes, building supplies, moose poop, small household furnishings, and even the occasional body. All these things are very waterlogged and unpleasant. And when the roads dry off, and the Chinook winds strike, all the sand and gravel and dirt blow up in huge choking clouds that settle on the wet things, turning them various shades of grey, brown, and ick.
To be fair, this is the experience of a populated area. What about the rest? All that nature-y stuff? That’s the part that sits for weeks on end in stagnant meltwater and mud.
Which brings me to thing 2.
2) The smell.
Febreeze describes Alaskan springtime like this:
“Celebrate the first days of spring with a delicate, watery fresh fragrance
with hints of warm amber and sunshine.”
I’m not sure what Alaskan “warm amber” smells like, unless you’re talking about this:
And if that’s what you’re going for, you may as well use the real thing instead of going through the trouble of buying Febreeze. Plus, you could drink what you don’t use on your upholstery.
As for the other kind, I can tell you exactly the last time a piece of warm amber has emerged from the frightening, icy detritus. That would be… never. And as for the “delicate, watery fresh fragrance” part, perhaps they mean something akin to the unforgettable olfactory assault of pulling old thickly-slimed cut flowers from a vase.
But, I suppose Febreeze wouldn’t make much money if they practiced truth in advertising.
“Celebrate the last insanity-fueled days of cabin fever with a foul, waterlogged stench with hints of decomposing organic matter, roadside dirt, and dog poo.”