The Marketing of Febreze

The Marketing of Febreze
(and Other Ways We’ve Been Had)

The commercials and advertisements we see are almost all carefully crafted by teams of “scientists”so that they have the greatest impact possible, resulting in people believing that we NEED to buy and use these products for our lives to be complete.

Here’s how Febreze was marketed and we the people have been manipulated into buying and using an unnecessary and toxic product.

Some excerpts from an article well worth reading:


How Companies Learn Your Secrets


… “When they got back to P.& G.’s headquarters, the researchers watched their videotapes again. Now they knew what to look for and saw their mistake in scene after scene. Cleaning has its own habit loops that already exist. In one video, when a woman walked into a dirty room (cue), she started sweeping and picking up toys (routine), then she examined the room and smiled when she was done (reward). In another, a woman scowled at her unmade bed (cue), proceeded to straighten the blankets and comforter (routine) and then sighed as she ran her hands over the freshly plumped pillows (reward). P.& G. had been trying to create a whole new habit with Febreze, but what they really needed to do was piggyback on habit loops that were already in place. The marketers needed to position Febreze as something that came at the end of the cleaning ritual, the reward, rather than as a whole new cleaning routine.

The company printed new ads showing open windows and gusts of fresh air. More perfume was added to the Febreze formula, so that instead of merely neutralizing odors, the spray had its own distinct scent. Television commercials were filmed of women, having finished their cleaning routine, using Febreze to spritz freshly made beds and just-laundered clothing. Each ad was designed to appeal to the habit loop: when you see a freshly cleaned room (cue), pull out Febreze (routine) and enjoy a smell that says you’ve done a great job (reward). When you finish making a bed (cue), spritz Febreze (routine) and breathe a sweet, contented sigh (reward). Febreze, the ads implied, was a pleasant treat, not a reminder that your home stinks.

And so Febreze, a product originally conceived as a revolutionary way to destroy odors, became an air freshener used once things are already clean.”…

Febreze Air Effects

This product released 89 air contaminants.


“Do not use in areas without adequate ventilation.”

But does it even work to remove odours?

According to Consumer Reports magazine:

“After we’d sprayed Febreze Air Effects, most blindfolded panelists still identified odors characteristic of fish or cat litter or both, and most also noticed a fragrance or chemical/detergent scent. Among their comments: “I wanted to throw up,” “Flowers gone bad, dirty diapers, old garbage,” and “Like a men’s room in a truck stop.”

Febreze is often advertised with kids or adults inhaling the chemicals and then having a stoned and distant look on their faces. It looks very much like what happens when people huff chemical products to get stoned.

Most people who have MCS/ES are disabled or otherwise incapacitated by breathing air where  Febreze has been used. With so many neurotoxic, carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting ingredients, is it any wonder?

And now there is this:

Febrezed Pillows

Doctors and environmental health specialists are recommending we avoid fragranced products, especially when pregnant, nursing or around children. The chemicals used in these products cause human and environmental harm.

Fresh air does not smell, nor does it contain toxic chemicals.

Here’s another article about how we’ve been manipulated, by the fast food industry:

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

You can check out my post Are There Any Doubts? for more on how we are being had and made sick by industries while they profit from it. And how public health agencies are unable to compete with industry influences. There’s even a second part in the works about how some of our reps in government represent industry interests instead of citizen interests. The posts about being Guinea Pigs are also connected…

If you want some good info on how to understand the food system and choose healthier options, then you could read Food and Personal Power.

Bottom line?

We probably shouldn’t trust any industry that relentlessly advertises their products on tv or elsewhere.

And here’s a tip for freshening the air:

Open a window!

Unless you live somewhere toxic trespass is likely from the toxic products your neighbors have been manipulated into buying and using… or your neighborhood is being fracked… or you live near a busy freeway… or an oil pipeline has been damaged in your backyard… or there’s an out of control forest fire upwind… or mold from flooding… or you get the picture…

In that case, don’t open the window, or spray a toxic air”freshener”… You need heavy duty air purifiers until you can move! Where to, I don’t know… But we all need fresh, clean air that isn’t polluted and full of toxic chemicals.

Open Window  Photo by C. Howarth

Open Window
Photo by C. Howarth

Breathing fresh, clean air and eating fresh, real food makes us smarter!

20 responses to “The Marketing of Febreze

  1. Reblogged this on allergictolifemybattle and commented:
    I am sick of these commercials and the fact that now more and more products are advertised as having the “fresh scent of Febreze”.

    • It’s amazing, isn’t it, that there has been so much success in marketing the “fresh” scent of toxic chemicals…

  2. Here’s a great post sharing more air”freshener” ridiculousness:

    Air Wick National Park Collection: Um, What?

    If only this (getting fresh air out of a can) was possible! How I would love to spray real fresh air into my home when I can’t open the windows because the neighbors are doing laundry with toxic products, or spreading poisons in their gardens and lawns… But whoah! Spraying toxic and allergenic chemicals into my home? Damaging my brain and endocrine system now so I can get cancer later? I don’t think so!

  3. Every time I see a febreze commercial I kind of want to puke. Shared on the facebooks!

    • Ugh!
      I guess I’m lucky I don’t have a tv!
      But, when I did, I had a hard time believing they were allowed to (or even wanted to) advertise their products in a way that looked like drug addicts getting their fix of drugs…
      Why do they have all kinds of anti-drug programs and then allow products onto the market that can affect people’s brains and bodies like drugs?

  4. UGH…Febreeze! The product makes me so ill.
    Clean does NOT have a scent!
    Our neighbor uses such heavily scented laundry products, and use a lot of perfumes that I have to be careful when I open the windows or go outside. Yes, it is THAT strong that it fills the air around our house. Their cigarette smoke also mixes with the fragrances.

    • Febreze does not clean the air, that’s for darn sure! Quite the contrary!

      And I wish manufacturers weren’t allowed to make toxic products that trespass from the user to others. (Wouldn’t it be nice if the toxic ingredients were at least labelled?)

      So many of us have lost the freedom to sit outside our own homes, or even to open our windows because of toxic things the neighbours use.

      So NOT right!

      Women’s Voices for the Earth has a campaign to get things labelled, have you seen it?

  5. This just in:
    “Jim Shalala used to use Febreze clips all the time, but stopped after he claims one of them leaked, peeling the vinyl on his dashboard and short circuiting a display screen.”

  6. i am so sick from all of these products, it is really stopping me from living,i can not go in restaurant bathrooms,or theatres,shopping malls ,nor i cannot get my car washed,not to mention i had to have my business run by other people. the list goes on,my life has become a nightmare including not visiting friends. please stop for fresh air.thanks …..p.s i cannot go to a sport center also ,,,,help

    • It’s terrible how toxic the fragrances and products are these days! And how they are everywhere!
      What kind of help are you looking for?

      We do live in a new normal… And there are things we can do, for our health as well as for others.
      The more we support healthy alternatives, the more choices we’ll have. But it requires quite a few changes…

      The more we tell manufacturers and retailers that we want safe products and materials (and that we won’t buy the toxic ones) the more inclined they’ll be to make the changes.

      We need systemic change, politicians who will create legislation that protects people instead of polluters!
      We need policies that protect us and are that are also enforced!
      Right now, only the right for corporations to make more money, no matter what the human and environmental costs, seem to be protected.

      We CAN demand safe products, and fair practices. And when enough of us do, they listen.
      Changes ARE happening, even though some industries are fighting to continue to have the right to poison us all…
      But since so many of us are seeing the light, we can leave them in the dark while we move on to a healthier, happier way of living!

  7. This makes me crazy too!!

    • It is crazy how stuff like this is legal!

      • Corporate greed…you’d think these folks didn’t have families of their own!

        • Really makes you wonder…
          Do they think they are somehow immune to the adverse effects? Or that their children and grandchildren aren’t being affected?

          At least awareness is growing (sadly it’s along with the numbers of people who are being injured by these toxic chemicals)

          • It’s hard to speculate what their relationships are with their children, etc. One thing for certain is their relationship with their bank account, because only for money would someone make these unethical choices. They can’t possibly be ignorant to the facts.

            • Denial and belief systems (magical thinking) as well as ignorance of how cause and effect works. They may not have immediate adverse health effects, but they may develop cancer 10 years later and not be able to connect it to these products.

              How many people use Febreze in well ventilated areas, according to product label instructions?

            • No doubt, there are people living with cancer today from using it ten years ago.

    • The worst trick on the humankind…The smell makes me so sick that it has ruined my life.I almost can not go anywhere.. The smell in rest rooms the plane makes it almost impossible the doctors must stop please … we cannot smell the food..we stay away..Help.My poor friend of 25 years lives a horror because of these smelly products

      • It’s the toxic chemicals that create the smells in these products that are harmful. Febreze and other air “fresheners” do not freshen the air, they just add pollutants to make it harder to smell what’s already there. Clean has no smell.

  8. Pingback: Product Safety Gaps are Actually Canyons | Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution

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