Pushing Daisies: The Clorox-method home Wars
Currently the two leaders in the “green” home cleaning products industry are Clorox and method home, both based in my native Bay Area. 7th Generation is not far behind, but is almost an afterthought because the battle between Clorox and method is getting testy. Both are fine companies in their own right: I’ve met several Clorox employees and alumni over the years, and they have been impressive people coming from a solid, innovative corporate culture. But let’s just face it: method’s product messaging and growth over the last few years has been impressive. And I admit some bias: I buy method home for virtually all of our house cleaning needs because their products, in my view, are better. Well, Clorox recently sent method a nasty-gram in the form of a cease-and-desist letter saying that method should stop using a daisy in any of its advertisement campaigns. It’s an odd move: last I checked the daisy was in the public domain. It really does not do anything for Clorox except make the firm petty and small. And by the way, their daisies don’t look similar at all. I mean, it’s not like a sporting goods company stealing Adidas’s three stripes. The daisy belongs to nature. It makes me wonder if Canada and the USA ever got into a row over Niagara Falls. The difference between the two firm’s products striking: While Clorox pushes the “green” message with gusto and touts “natural” ingredients while not exactly being clear about what those ingredients are . . . method home does not beat the over-used and clichéd green drum at all. method emphasizes performance and innovation, and it shows in their product line: modern, vibrant colors, cool packaging that is thoughtful (and recycled), and best of all, its web site showcases an impressive overview of what the company strives for in maintaining a sustainable operation. They don’t preach “green” (thank goodness); they just do it and let the product line speak for itself. Back to the cease-and-desist letter: rather than stooping to Clorox’s level, method is having some brilliant fun with the love note. You can visit a site that asks to whom the daisy belongs: method, Clorox, or Mother Nature. I admit I voted out of bias, but Mother Nature is the clear winner so far. It’s one of the silliest cat fights since Smuckers, the jelly company, sued a Midwestern company in the early 2000s, basically saying it had the patented right to the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I don’t know who will win this round, but so far, method 1, Clorox a big childish ZERO. Special thanks to a reader who alerted me about this story!