Weekly Content Critique: Clorox Wipes

Apropos of last month’s horror movie-inspired bloodbath theme, I investigated Clorox’s website this week. The company is taking content seriously, as well as consumer engagement. (A cleaning advisor, classrooms, fun & games, AND blogs? If they were selling an addictive substance, we could accuse them of trying to seduce the children. The nerdy, good children.) This product page for Clorox Wipes differs from others so far because it is not designed to make you click the buy button. There is no buy button. It’s a brand website concerned with consumer loyalty and everlasting love.

The introduction: 5 pings5-pings (wide)

Spills, messes, disinfecting wipes, clean, disinfect, finished wood. That’s a list of keywords from the two well-constructed introduction sentences for these wipes. Editors and SEO experts alike approve. I’m going to assume the latter group would approve, rather than consult with a real-life expert and risk an argument over the relative value of wordplay.

Informative copy: 5 pings5-pings (wide)

Chlorox wipes ingredients listThis copy couldn’t be any more informative. In fact, it could be less informative and still be the most informative copy I’ve critiqued to date. It’s information overload, but in a mostly functional way. With five sections per product page–About, How-To, FAQs, Reviews, and Ingredients–Clorox is aiming to smack us over the head with helpful information and head off potential questions from aggressive customers. They are seriously pushing the multi-surface use of these wipes, too: aside from the many mentions of surfaces in the About section, the first four questions under FAQ are about different surfaces the wipes can be used on.

Now let’s talk about the unusual part of Clorox’s copy: Ingredients and Safety. Such a section is not unusual in the age of green retail. What’s unusual is that Clorox is not vending a “green” cleaning product; they’re selling a classic chemical formula of the sort that has fallen out of favor among today’s “environmentally friendly” shoppers.

This attempt at transparency is one approach to tackling the new market; I call it an attempt because the information provided for each ingredient says only for what it is used, not from what it is derived or other basic compositional details. For instance, alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chlorides are “surfactants or cleaning agents added to cleaning products for disinfecting or for helping to preserve the formula.” I won’t pretend I wasn’t a little seduced by the fancy organization of all this copy, but a look under the hood revealed a certain absence of detail.

Effective images: 3 pings3-pings (wide)

These shiny lifestyle shots aren’t successful at representing the wide range of uses Clorox is eager to assign these wipes. Two kitchen counter shots and what appears to be a window with blinding sunlight coming through? That represents about 1/8 of what Clorox would like you to use their wipes for. I learned from the FAQ that the wipes have a “thick honeycomb texture” that is great for cleaning up multiple messes on multiple surfaces in multiple rooms. So show me a picture of this impressive material (which, incidentally, is referred to simply as “substrate” in the ingredients list).

I always thought commercials with before/after shots demonstrating the powerful cleaning abilities of [insert cleaner of choice] were overdone, but maybe there’s something to that formula. Looking at these essentially pristine surfaces does not move me to use chemical-laden wipes. One more thing: Does anyone else think these pictures look like they belong in a home and garden magazine?

What I’m buying: 3 pings3-pings (wide)

This is where the page falls flat. The closest thing to product information is that the wipes come in four scents. No how many in a package, no dimensions of a single wipe, no sweeping statements about how much grease/how large a window/what portion of your car you can clean up with just one wipe. That last omission was a fortunate one.

Honestly, this info is not terribly important for this particular product page. They aren’t selling products directly, but trying to increase brand engagement and loyalty. But more– particular, shall we say, consumers might want to know.

Design: 4 pings

It’s a lovely page, full of color, white space, and rounded corners. If it were a room, it might be the nursery. But I quickly got tired of the redundant content and re-direction to other sections on the page. This page has one message: use Clorox disinfecting wipes to clean everything in your home. All right, already.

Final score: 4 pings

As I said, this product page has a specific goal that differs from selling a product on the spot. It’s successful as a brand page, and would probably be successful as a retail page too. Shiny as it is, though, what’s under the surface is a little disappointing. I’m not ready to commit to you yet, Clorox.

See the full page here


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