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Oct 25, 2023

“Repeat and Rinse” and Other Marketing Scams

News from our Department of Redundancy Department

By Ed Goldman

Daily life consists of endless redundancies. Let me repeat that.

Nah, just kidding. But not about today’s theme. In the past week I’ve cleaned the toilets and showers in my home with the appropriate bottles of cleanser, both of which instructed me on their labels not to use them until I had cleaned my toilets and showers.

Edgy Cartoon

One more time!

My dishwasher detergent also strongly suggests I wash my dishes before I put them in the quaintly named appliance in my kitchen called a “dishwasher.”

When I use a non-toxic spritzer to clean my kitchen-island countertop I follow the label’s rules, and first thoroughly clean the just-mentioned kitchen-island countertop.

Meanwhile, my shampoo mandates I scrub my hair with it then “rinse and repeat.” Doesn’t this throw into doubt the product’s initial efficacy? As an aside, I’m sure you know that the word “repeat” on shampoo bottles—after you wash your hair—is often cited as the most effective one-word marketing scam in U.S. history. 

I get a similar feeling every time the manufacturer of a product I’ve been using for years comes out with a “new and improved” version, leading me to wonder if the product I’d already been using was crappy.

People think this approached backfired on the makers of Coca-Cola some years ago when they introduced “New Coke.” Most of us hated it so after a short while, they brought back the old Coke, rebranding it as “Classic Coke.” 

Couple of thoughts on that:

  • Truly “classic Coke” contained cocaine when it first came to market in 1885. (That’s why it was called “Coke.”)
  • The cocaine-less Coca-Cola which many of us grew up loving was sweetened with cane sugar, not high-fructose corn syrup. If you still want that original taste, ask for Mexican Coke in better delis and bistros—and, of course, Mexico.
  • I maintain that because Coke was losing market share to Pepsi, the company did this whole “New Coke” thing to bring people back to the original. And if my conspiracy-minded theory is correct, it succeeded beyond its wildest dreams because some people now actually seek out New Coke, which is about as tasty as Coke’s earlier foray into diet sodas, Tab, which it stopped making three years ago, probably when its only remaining customer, who I presume was pretty svelte, died.

I’m wondering why other products don’t have us first do what the product’s supposed to do. If this were the case, we’d need to do the following:

  1. Kill houseflies, ants, bees, termites and rodents before we spray them with poison, set traps or call a professional exterminator. Naturally, this would affect the exterminator’s advertising: “Do you have some dead insects or rodents? Call us!”
  2. Wash our cars before taking them into the car wash.
  3. Learn to Martinize our clothes before handing them over to professional cleaners who presumably know what the hell Martinizing means.
  1. Go through escrow ourselves before we go through it with a useless title company watching us do so. It could save time but I kind of doubt it.
  2. Do our homework before it’s assigned, write our term papers before we’re assigned a topic and complete our PhD orals by enlisting family members to ask us insinuating questions and prove they’ll always be smarter than us. Families like to do this as much as tenured professors do.
  3. Give birth to our babies before leaving for our Lamaze class. This is based on my assumption that you’ll know when to “breathe” without being coached/ordered to do so.
  4. Cook a fine meal before reading the recipe. If you take this a step farther, you can also eat your cake before you have it, but I don’t want to sound like an anti-semantic. Or worse yet, redundant.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President, Golden Pacific Bank, a Division of SoFi Bank, N.A.

photo by Phoebe Verkouw


Golden Pacific Bank, a division of SoFi Bank, N.A., proudly sponsors the Sacramento Speaker Series. Our October 11 speaker was Dr. Anthony Fauci, the American physician and immunologist most known for his work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although he describes himself as “completely nonpolitical,” Fauci is a frequently cited physician and scientist, and has come under political crossfires.

In his presentation, Fauci emphasized that Americans should get up-to-date on their COVID and flu shots and pitched the safety and efficacy of the COVID vaccines.

“My message — is that please, for your own safety, for that that of your family, get your updated COVID-19 shot as soon as you’re eligible to protect yourself, your family and your community,” he said.

Dr. Fauci stepped down from his role as the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in December 2022, but he continues his crusade to safeguard the public’s health. The “most disturbing” aspect of the pandemic, he said, is the constantly evolving variants, which make it nearly impossible to stay ahead of the virus.

His expertise and caring are helping us do just that.

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