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3 Random, Surprising Products and Services Sold by Well-Known Companies

You never know what you’re going to find when you flip through the Sunday paper to get to the good ads. Sure, there are the grocery store ads featuring “unbelievably low prices” on spinach and home décor stores promoting their latest “2 Day Super-Duper, Fan-freaking-tastic” sale on their bedding…

But I enjoy reading the ads in Parade Magazine the most. I’ve learned about how the Amish are crafting the best space heaters around, and which medication I should be asking my doctor about for a condition I didn’t know even existed, all from this one source.

Recently, I came across an advertisement for Oreck, but guess what? It wasn’t for their vacuums; it was for a random product I didn’t even know they sold. Check out what they were selling and what other ads I’ve seen for random products from established companies!

Oreck: From Vacuums to Candles

Sorry to break it to you. But yes, you do have to vacuum at some point.

From my many summers of watching The Price is Right every morning, I know a thing or two about Oreck vacuum cleaners. I know that they’re incredibly lightweight and the world’s most prestigious hotels use them. However, I had no idea they also sell candles.

Sure, the cleaning supplies, the steam mops, and even the fabric shaver make sense to me. But candles? Really?! What does that have to do with cleaning or vacuuming? I wouldn’t walk into a room and think, “This room needs to be vacuumed. Naw, I’ll just light a candle.” I would recommend sticking with selling cleaning products that actually clean, not just mask the odors coming up from your carpet. I know, I know, call me crazy.

Proctor & Gamble: Tide Dry Cleaners

Given the fact that P&G has about a bijillion products under their belt, it would make sense that maybe one or two do something a bit random to attract attention. However, their latest franchise opportunity (yes, you read that right) is straight out of left field. Tide Dry Cleaners will soon be opening up across the country to offer assistance in removing those stubborn stains from your favorite shirts… or to provide a place to drop off your dress shirts to pick up later, all clean and ready to wear.

This seems like a stretch, but I was raised in a Tide household, so I’m a bit biased here. It just seems like opening up a chain of laundromats would make more sense, since it’s a laundry detergent. They could sell only P&G laundry products, run only P&G commercials on the TVs, and could even have a little convenience store with other P&G items in it (paper towels, toilet paper, everyday necessities). I could justify this one, but a dry cleaner? Not so much.

Proctor & Gamble: Mr. Clean Car Wash

Now imagine how clean his car would be with Mr. Clean automotive products!

You didn’t believe me when I said P&G had so many different products under their belt, did you? Well, I forgive you, because this last one also surprised me. Mr. Clean is known for their kitchen and bathroom cleaners, but apparently they’re diving into car washes to really make sure they get their name out there to the masses. They already sell car washing products at Target and PepBoys for DIY car washes at home, but this new venture is a first.

This seems like a huge stretch for Mr. Clean. Do you think it’d be a better idea to partner up with an existing car wash company and co-brand with them? I can hear the commercial voiceover now, “The products you trust to keep your home clean now will keep your car clean, too! Mr. Clean automotive products are now used exclusively at our car wash!”

While Oreck and Proctor & Gamble are on the right track to diversify into new markets in order to attract customers, it seems like these ideas are a bit of a stretch. Candles from a vacuum company? Dry cleaners and car washes from a company that aims to “to touch and improve lives, now and for generations to come”?

Remember Leo Burnett’s quote, “When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud, either.”  Well, these ideas aren’t mud, but they’re not exactly a bright, shining star, either.

What do you think about these brands and their latest endeavors? Do they make sense to you? Do they seem odd to you? Sound off below!



Amy Swanson

Amy is one of Quality Logo Products’ content developers and social media coordinators. She is a self-professed newspaper nerd and thoroughly enjoys reading business and financial news and having impromptu discussions about it. Oh yeah, she’s “one of those” people! A true Midwestern girl by nature, she loves riding her bike, photography, and the Chicago Cubs. You can connect with Amy on

Comments

  1. Kelsey

    The candle thing is killing me! You pretty much took the words right out of my mouth. Why would you sell something that covers up a dirty smell when you’re selling something else that is supposed to actually clean an area so you don’t have a dirty smell?! It reminds me of those febreze commercials where the rooms are covered in dead fish and moldy pizza. If those commercials make you think you need febreze I think we have a little bit of a problem, hahahaha.

    Entertaining post, Amy! :)

    • amy

      Thanks so much, Kelsey! It’s awesome to write a rage post every once in a while ;)

      My inner-skeptic always comes out with those Febreeze ads. Really? A few sprtizs of this ‘rain fresh meadow’ spray is going to mask the odors of rotting fish? Although, maybe they’re hoping consumers will be like, “Well, shucks! If it can cover those odors I should be able to spray it on my dirty clothes and not have to do laundry for another 2 weeks!” Whatever their advertisers are thinking it must be working because people are still buying it.

      • Jeff Porretto

        I think those febreeze commercials are a total scam. I GUARANTEE those rooms just didn’t smell before hand. You can make things look “dirty” with a good paint job.

        I bought a used guitar case that reeked like smoke. “No problem, I’ll just febreeze it” I thought. Half a bottle and a week later… not even a dent in the smell. I ended up just getting rid of it.

        Clever advertising yes. Miracle spray no.

        Maybe some Oreck candles would’ve helped… Nice post Swanson!

        • amy

          I’m honestly not the least bit surprised by Febreeze letting you down, Jeff. I am sorry though! It sucks when you think a product should work like it’s advertised, as consumers we ask for a lot ;)

  2. Cybernetic SAM

    In a way, this is pretty clever on their part. They are really making their wealth full circle, that would be like KFC opening up all their fast food places and then opening up a gym. It is just annoying that everything is going to be co-branded soon. I am just becoming more and more desensitized to the amount of co-branding that is out there, I have gotten to the point where nothing surprises me. It would be kind of fun to be a corporate consultant co-branding for companies you could come up with some funny stuff, I guess that is as creative as the corporate world gets.

    • amy

      Oh man, give it time with KFC. If they’re repairing potholes and sticking the Colonel’s face on them, they must always be looking for ideas to increase their profits.

      That would be a really funny blog idea, I found concrete examples of weird products companies offer, but what about fictional ones? If Kleenex and Hershey’s created a co-branding effort, does that mean we’d have chocolate scented tissues? Hmmm…. you got my wheels turning ;)

      Thanks for the read, Sam… and sadly, I do think this is as creative as the corporate world gets. Better hold on tight, haha

  3. Jana Quinn

    While some of these are definitely weird, I can see how these big name companies might acquire some smaller niche company and want to use their own brand awareness to boost their subsidiary.

    But the Amish making space heaters surprised me, so I read farther into the article: “… [C]lose reading of the ads reveals that the craftsmen make only the wood mantels; the heater itself is actually ‘a work of engineering genius from the China coast.’”

    That’s pretty much the opposite. But it’s interesting that the Amish are contributing a quality component to something that’s fairly against their way of life, which is pretty interesting. My stepdad loves Amish-built furniture, and says there’s none better. He’s also pretty convinced that Ancient Aliens is legit, so take that for what it’s worth. ;-)

    Best part of the article: “I wouldn’t walk into a room and think, ‘This room needs to be vacuumed. Naw, I’ll just light a candle.’”

    • amy

      The Amish ad always cracks me up when I see it because of your exact reason, “the Amish are contributing a quality component to something that’s fairly against their way of life”. Pretty sure you’d never see an electric space heater in an Amish farmhouse… now maybe at Dwight Schrute’s and Moe’s place ;)

      This was a really fun post to write, I’m glad you enjoyed reading it and my attempt at writing in a witty manner.

  4. Jenna Markowski

    Interesting read, Amy! I think the Oreck/candle mash-up is the weirdest one for me. Because the products don’t really seem to go hand-in-hand. The Tide dry cleaners I can understand…as long as they’re using Tide products at the dry cleaners! That way, if there’s people who want their clothes to smell like Tide but are too lazy to wash them on their own? Problem solved, I guess. It will be interesting to see how these efforts pan out, that’s for sure!

    • amy

      Thanks, Jenna! I’m glad you liked it :) My mouth literally hit the table when I saw the Oreck/candle mash-up advertisement. I mean, really?! It’s like carpet stain removal company (Stanley-Steemer for example) selling rugs to customers. Yeah, it’s helpful but kinda odd at the same time….

  5. Jen

    I have to agree that some of these are a stretch, but in a way they make sense. Tide Dry cleaners make sense because dry cleaners, clean clothing just like Tide laundry detergent. You have a valid point that it would make even more sense if they opened a launder mat instead, but dry cleaning is still laundry. Oreck selling candles is puzzling to me though…I just keep asking myself why. Nice post Amy!

    • amy

      I’m glad I could pass this puzzling issue onto you as well, Jen. At least we’re not the only one confused by it!

      The thing that trips me up with the Tide Dry Cleaners is totally my own issue, I’m realizing, hahaha. I’m a total domestic nerd and I actually enjoy doing laundry so I don’t go to the dry cleaners unless I have something that I don’t want to attempt to wash or iron, like dresses, dress pants/suits/shirts, etc. However, there are many people who do use dry cleaners for everyday clothing items and in that case, you and Jenna are right. The smell of Tide is fantastic, so now everyone can get to get to smell like it, even if they don’t enjoy laundry :)

      Thanks for the read and comment, Jen!

  6. Mandy Kilinskis

    I think I get where P&G is going with the Tide dry cleaners. Tide already has a strong presence in many homes and has a reputation for smelling great and cleaning clothes well. So I imagine that many Tide advocates would JUMP at having their Sunday best cleaned and pressed at their local Tide dry cleaners.

    But I can’t justify Oreck selling candles. That’s just crazy.

    • amy

      It’ so refreshing knowing that I’m not totally crazy. After writing this post I was really expecting everyone to be like, “It makes complete sense for Oreck to sell candles because of reasons, X, Y, and Z”. Phew! Sane for another day ;)

  7. Rachel

    Oreck and candles is definitely a weird one. The other two I can see the connection, however roundabout it may be, but I definitely don’t associate candles with vacuum cleaners! Fun post, Amy. :)

    • amy

      Thanks Rachel! Glad you enjoyed it :)

  8. Eric

    Tide and dry cleaning. P&G and car…washing? Eh. Oreck and candles? What?!? Sam did have an interesting point…would be akin to Crest opening dentist’s offices.

    Problem I have with that? How effective is their product going to be if they’re involved in both the prevention and solution? It’s an odd thought, but part of you begins to wonder how effective their detergent is going to be when they’re also opening dry-cleaning businesses (an already heavily-saturated market).

    • amy

      Maybe they’re preparing for their dry-cleaning business to be a “wash”? Sorry, I couldn’t let that one just sit there ;)

      You do present an interesting idea with providing customers a prevention and a solution to their problem. I would be skeptical of a company that was trying to sell me something to prevent a problem, because when I’d see the solution product in my head I’m hearing the company say, “Oh hey! That other product didn’t work? Hmm… weird. Buy this product from us and I’m sure this one will fix the problem!” Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

      Thanks for the awesome comment, Eric!

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