Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Laundry Detergent and Luxury Cars

"Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain." -Philippians 2:14-16

On my way to work one morning I saw some new, glossy banners of advertisements at a train station. It was commercials for Tide laundry detergent. It's not one of those ordinary print ads we see from Tide and that's why it caught my attention quick. It was like some commercial for an art gallery or some gimmick from the pop culture that's sprouting around the city. It may even pass as an ad for electronic gadget or high-tech accessory for computers. The banners were cutting edge. It was very modern, stylish and suitable for the bustling life of Chicago. I've never seen anything like it before, particularly not in ads for laundry soap anyway. Maybe for a smartphone app or for a PC software but not for Tide.

Here are some of those banners:

© Copyright MMD Images, 2012

© Copyright MMD Images, 2012

© Copyright MMD Images, 2012

© Copyright MMD Images, 2012

Which brings me to my post today. Even before I saw that Tide commercial, I already wanted to write something about laundry detergents. I've read in an article which said that whatever is the common and most prevalent commercials on TV in a country say a lot on how that nation is doing economically and socially. Living in the Philippines all my life before leaving for Chicago in 2004, I know that one of the most common and prevalent commercials on TV are for laundry soap. And those were not even detergents for washing machines, they were ads geared specifically for hand-washing.

I guess this goes to show that one of the major occupations of housewives and homemakers in the Philippines is doing the laundry. I know it's one of the major household chores back home (emphasis on the word "chore" because it really is one!). It's not that women don't do laundry in other countries and particularly here in America but for some reason it takes more time and effort to do laundry in countries like the Philippines. Reasons like the difficulty of access to clean, running water or an almost nil presence of washing machines and dryers in most homes and also the hot and humid weather which contribute to a piling laundry of sweat, dirt and dust. Bad weather can also cause the moldy smells on slow drying clothes due to the lack of sunlight.

Those laundry soap commercials in the Philippines were specifically geared to target the female mind. Its selling points are the long-lasting flowery perfumes or the clean linen smell, the moisturizing effect on hands even after 20 loads of hand-washing. The whitening or bleaching powers it has on white clothes is very important too. Those features help sell Tide in the Philippines. I used to hear my mother chat with neighbors on how a particular detergent performs as compared with other detergents. I'm not kidding when I say that doing the laundry is one major chore in the Philippines. I don't mean to be degrading or negative about this, it's just the reality.

While here in America, despite the new cutting edge and colorful ads for detergents, it's still not the most common commercials I see on TV. I've noticed that the major and most prevalent ads in the U.S. are for automobiles especially luxury cars. This is what pumps up the world of advertising here in America. So what does it tell about the economic and social structure here? One thing I'm sure is that we're doing much better compared to most people in the Philippines or any other third-world country for that matter.

So does this mean that I don't hear any more complaints around here? Complaints against the government, the leaders, on the social and economic status of the nation, and on how things should be run? Of course not. Especially at this time when unemployment is at its worst in the history of America, corruption is rampant and with the economic depression that seem to linger people will naturally complain and sound-off on what's wrong in this sovereign country.

My point is, no matter what one's "chore" in life is --- from doing the laundry or making a decision on what type of car to buy; or no matter that my occupation in life is to choose the best detergent for my clothes or to choose which car brand is the best ---people still and will continue to complain. We are never content. We're never satisfied. We tend to overlook all the blessings that are right under our noses. I try my best to see God's hand in everything. Even in the most mundane tasks of daily routine.

I've come from a nation stricken with senseless and utmost poverty and I do remember complaining a lot before. Now that God has allowed my family to see a different side of the world and to live in a progressive country like America, I try not to complain too much (though I still have the inkling inside me to do so). I want to be more grateful. I need to be thankful for every blessing God has bestowed upon me, on my family, my church, friends and neighbors, my job, my co-workers and for life in general. My life may not be perfect, for nothing is perfect except for Jesus, I think life is a lot better with a renewed sense of appreciation for everything. God is good indeed, all the time!
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