Tide Pod Challenge


Procter and Gamble’s Tide brand created a laundry pod line dubbed “TIDE Pod,” advertised as a substitute to the average cup of detergent. Since its release, there has been numerous reports of children and elderly accidentally ingesting the pod, some cases where the victim would have mistaken the jelly pod as a candy.

Many media sources have reported a number of poisoning incidents since the introduction of the product, however, in late December 2017, ingesting Tide Pods was popularized by the internet as a “forbidden fruit” with users encouraging each other to bite into the pod. With the ingestion rates and poisoning incidents spiking, the brand has since sent out many warnings and has spoken out against the challenge. In addition, it links users to a national poison control hotline and offers advice to those who have ingested the pods.

The meme originated from a 2015 The Onion article titled “So Help Me God, I’m Going To Eat One Of Those Multicolored Detergent Pods” and a 2013 Straight Dope message board concerning children eating the laundry pods. In the following years, much of the attention focused on eating Tide Pods was satirical and poked fun at the real incidents of children ingesting the pods.

CollegeHumor followed up with a sketch titled “Don’t Eat The Laundry Pods” while a redditor on “intrusivethoughts” posted a thread titled “Bite into one of those Tide Pods. Do it.” Many other viral posts depicted Tide Pods over different food items as well as a short description of how delicious the pod would be if eaten. The memes were popularized by Twitter and Tumblr users, however, users normally stopped short of actually eating the Tide Pod.

Continuing into January 2018, the memes steadily evolved into actually consuming the pods as a dare. Numerous videos were filmed and uploaded of people biting into and choking on the Tide Pods. Some pods were cooked with other foods before being swallowed.

Due to the spike in poisoning incidents, especially among teenagers, a spokesperson on behalf of Proctor and Gamble spoke out against the challenge, sending out reminders and warnings to news outlets and online. Youtube and Facebook later responded by deleting videos of people eating the pods and not condoning such behavior. Many media publications published articles of the meme, while cautioning viewers against such dangerous behavior.