Here's an admission. Way back in the day at Eastern Michigan University Johnny bought a small baggie of mean green from a friend at Abe's Coney Island one night so he'd have some Spring Break buzzables. That was then, 1983 maybe, Johnny paid cash. He didn't pay with laundry detergent. Who does that? You'd be very very surprised. From New York Magazine:
The call that came in from a local Safeway one day in March 2011 was unlike any the Organized Retail Crime Unit of the Prince George’s County Police Department had fielded before. The grocery store, located in suburban Bowie, Maryland, had been robbed repeatedly. But in every incident the only products taken were bottles—many, many bottles—of the liquid laundry detergent Tide. “They were losing $10,000 to $15,000 a month, with people just taking it off the shelves,” recalls Sergeant Aubrey Thompson, who heads the team. When Thompson and his officers arrived to investigate, they stumbled onto another apparent Tide theft in progress and busted two men who’d piled 100 or so of the bright-orange jugs into their Honda. The next day, Thompson returned to the store’s parking lot to tape a television interview about the crimes. A different robber took advantage of the distraction to make off with twenty more bottles.
Yes, drug "money" is now Tide is many places. It really is an amazing read about how a popular bottle of detergent became drug currency.
On certain corners, the detergent has earned a new nickname: “Liquid gold.” The Tide people would never sanction that tag line, of course. But this unlikely black market would not have formed if they weren’t so good at pushing their product.
Spend some time today reading this and feel free to come back and we'll have a discussion on this very odd turn of product placement in the marketplace.