Writer’s Workshop: Fresh! Exciting!

Anybody remember Kool & The Gang?

"Fresh as a summer breeze" sounds like an ad campaign for laundry detergent. There is actually a perfume they add to detergent called Fresh. It’s supposed to simulate the smell of laundry that’s been hanging on a clothesline. And it’s not limited to detergent: fabric softener and dryer sheets have the same perfume added. Even Clorox bleach does what it can to take the "swimming pool" smell out of their bleach, and replace it with a floral scent.

"Fresh" is a great marketing word, because fresh is something everyone understands and likes. Fresh water, fresh air, fresh fruit, fresh fish, fresh coffee… It might be because we know how fresh feels, and tastes, and smells. Would you buy a laundry detergent that promises to make your clothes smell like a wet basement or a musty room? Would you want a cup of coffee from a pot that’s been sitting on the burner most of the afternoon? Would you like to breathe the air around a refinery or paper mill, or drink water from a styrofoam cup that’s been sitting in the car for three or four days? I doubt it.

One of my favorite scenes in a movie is from Barbarians At The Gate, a 1993 movie that starred James Garner. Based on a 1989 book of the same name, it was about the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco. Early in the movie, they talk about Premier, a smokeless cigarette which they believed would put RJ Reynolds at the top of the cigarette business again. Problem was… well, here’s the scene from the movie where they discuss the market tests. NOTE: The scene uses some language that is unsuitable for younger and more sensitive viewers.

If you chose not to watch the scene, suffice it to say that Premier cigarettes neither tasted nor smelled fresh.

Fresh is a good thing, whether we’re talking laundry products, food, cleaning products, air fresheners, even soap ("fresh and clean as a whistle, that’s Irish Spring!"). Personally, there’s nothing better than sleeping on clean sheets. They feel so fresh…

21 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: Fresh! Exciting!

  1. Fun post, John. It had me thinking about everything in my home with “Fresh” on the label. Of course, fabric softener, detergent, dish liquid, toothpaste, mouthwash, scented candles (that The Husband hates), hair products (yes…”give your hair that fresh smell”) and the Fresh Step cat litter our daughter purchases.

    But…I agree that nothing can top the smell and feel of bed linens that are dried outside on a clothes line. One of life’s very simple pleasures!

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  2. I remember Kool and the Gang when Disco was fresh!
    I do prefer laundry that’s dried outside on the line and find it sort of funny that dryer sheets try to mimic that.

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    1. Kool & The Gang have been around over 50 years. One of their founding members, Kool’s brother, passed away recently.

      I suppose they do it for people who can’t or won’t dry their laundry on the line.

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  3. When I was growing up, we hung all our laundry out on clotheslines: 4 or 5 lines strung between oaks, about 20 to 25 feet each. Dryers were only something we used on camping vacations at laundry mats. But I remember how I loved the fresh clean smell of laundry dried on the line.
    There is no replacing the freshening power of air and sunshine—so I often take sofa cushions and so on outside for some fresh air.

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    1. Sunlight and fresh air are great things. I think when all is said and done about Covid, the people who will have done the best will be the people that got out in the fresh air and sunshine a little bit every day.

      I don’t think Mom ever hung the laundry out. We lived in Chicago where the yards were too small.

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    1. The whole movie is very well done. There are some laughs, but also a lot of good information about the leveraged buyout and all the behind-the-scenes cloak and dagger. One of the people that was displaced from RJR Nabisco ended up with my company as the assistant to one of the senior officers, so I was interested from that angle, but also the business history.

      You know, I hated history as a kid…

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  4. I’m still wiping my eyes from laughing at that scene. I wonder how many takes they had to do before they got one where nobody broke up.

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  5. LOL I don’t remember that movie. So funny. I do remember the song and Kool and the Gang opened for Van Halen the time we saw them. I’ll have to look and see if they sang this song. Happy Thursday!

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    1. It’s a good movie, funny in places, educational in others. You might run across it on Netflix or one of the other streaming services.

      “Fresh” was one of their bigger hits, so I’d be surprised if they didn’t play it, but ya never know…

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  6. The clip made me laugh out loud! Oddly, I remember bits and pieces of this movie. After reading your post, Iโ€™m wondering why the word โ€˜freshโ€™ was used to describe a manโ€™s advances. Our language!

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