Tag Archives: Ointment

Sort of Proustian, really

Germolene ointment. Not pink any more
Germolene used to be pink. It was famously pink. People used to call it ‘pink ointment’. For generations the distinctive colour and thick, putty-like texture defined the whole category. Everybody had a tin. I bet your Mum rubbed Germolene on your various cuts and scrapes when you were a kid. So what happened? It’s not pink any more, that’s for sure. It’s white, just like all the other antiseptic creams (still smells the same, though).

Research, I suppose, showed that people expect their ointment to be white. Not pink. So the manufacturer decided that it would be cheaper to reengineer the product completely than to invest in communicating the idea of… er… pinkness. Cheaper to cave in to fashion and dump the brand’s number one attribute than to make positive use of its uniqueness and its history to produce the association “healing = pink”. So Germolene is now just one of dozens of ointments that all look exactly the same. I think that’s sad.

Update. Oh bollocks. Obviously you can still buy the pink stuff (sort of slightly bitter thanks to AlexS for pointing this out). It’s not thick and treacly like pink Marmite any more, though, and you can’t buy it in handy tins…