Tide POD Challenge refers to a dare game involving the consumption of Tide PODS laundry detergent capsules, which are often compared to various fruit-flavored snack foods due to their packaging and appearance. Online, the practice of eating Tide PODS is frequently mocked in a similar vein to bleach drinking and the consumption of other poisonous forbidden snacks.
In February 2012, the multi-national consumer goods corporation Procter & Gamble introduced the Tide PODS laundry detergent packs. According to Consumer Reports, there were increased calls to poison control centers due to children consuming the product. On December 4th, 2013, Straight Dope Forums member Silvorange submitted a post titled "People eating Tide pods" discussing rumors about people eating the detergent packs.
On May 10, 2016 YouTuber Cyr made a video about eating Tide PODS (shown below).
On March 31th, 2017, humor website CollegeHumor uploaded a Youtube video titled "Don't Eat The Laundry Pods", which gained over 2.5 million views by the end of the year.
On July 10th, Redditor gineralee submitted a post titled "Bite into one of those Tide Pods. Do it." to /r/intrusivethoughts. The following day, The Onion published another article satirically describing a new Sour Apple flavor of Tide PODS. On December 9th, Twitter user @mineifiwildout tweeted the joke "no more eating Xanax in 2018 we eating tide pods from now on" (shown below). Within two weeks, the tweet gained over 25,600 likes and 7,100 retweets.
On December 11th, Twitter user @littlestwayne tweeted a GIF of Oprah Winfrey munching on stage, joking that it is the feeling of eating forbidden Tide PODS, which gained over 25,000 likes. A similar tweet by user @fastjellyfish was posted on December 21st and gained over 18,000 likes.
On December 26th, 2017, Twitter user @nightfilm posted three images along with the message "i really tried and died for the cause" (shown below).
On July 11th, The Onion published a satirical article titled "Tide Debuts New Sour Apple Detergent Pods," which included a photoshopped promotional ad for the parody laundry detergent (shown below).
Tide POD Chan
That day, Lushsux posted the illustration on Instagram, asking viewers if he should create a mural for the character (shown below, left). On January 2nd, cosplayer Azumii posted a photograph of herself dressed as Tide POD Chan (shown below, right).
Tide POD Challenge
The earliest iteration of the Tide POD Challenge, a series of videos in which people eat or pretend to eat Tide PODS was posted on January 7th, 2018 by YouTuber TheAaronSwan669, who published a video (shown below) entitled "TIDE POD CHALLENGE." In the video, he pretends to participate in the challenge of eating Tide PODS before saying "just kidding."
Over the next week, more videos featuring the "Tide POD Challenge" appearing online (example below, left). Several media outlets, including The Washington Post, CBS, The Chicago Tribune and more, reported on the videos. According to the Washington Post, "Last year, U.S. poison control centers received reports of more than 10,500 children younger than 5 who were exposed to the capsules. The same year, nearly 220 teens were reportedly exposed, and about 25 percent of those cases were intentional, according to data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers. So far in 2018, there have been 37 reported cases among teenagers -- half of them intentional, according to the data."
Procter & Gamble spokeswoman Petra Renck said in a statement, "Laundry pacs are made to clean clothes. They should not be played with, whatever the circumstance, even if meant as a joke. Like all household cleaning products, they must be used properly and stored safely.”
Tide released a new video to help stop the spread of the challenge and disuade people from eating Tide PODS. On January 12th, 2018, the company released a video featuring NFL star Rob "Gronk" Gronkowski warning people not to eat them. The video (shown below, right) received more than 20,000 views in four days.
The same day, Facebook user Corey B uploaded footage of himself performing the challenge, which gathered upwards of 3.3 million views, 61,000 reactions and 5,900 comments over the next five days. The video has since been removed.
Due to the sudden popularity of the meme, many stores, including Walmart, Walgreen's and Ralph's, have begun locking Tide PODS up, requiring a store employee to retrieve them for customers. On January 13th, Twitter user @NavidHasan_ tweeted a picture (shown below) of the PODS locked up with the caption "y’all really joked around so much that tide put their tide pods in plastic boxes…smh."
On January 18th, a Google spokesperson announced that YouTube would be removing videos that feature participants of the Tide POD Challenge. They said, "YouTube's Community Guidelines prohibit content that's intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm. We work to quickly remove flagged videos that violate our policies."
That day, Facebook made a similar announcement, stating that they would be removing any videos featuring the Tide POD Challenge. A representative said, "We don't allow the promotion of self-injury and will remove it when we're made aware of it."
Tide POD Foods
Following the popularity of Tide PODs, numerous, privately owned restaurants began offering Tide POD-themed foods.
On January 17th, the Facebook account for Hurts Donut in Springfield, Missouri posted a picture of a Tide POD-themed donut. They posted it next to a picture of a Tide POD with the work "No" overlayed on the POD and "Yes" over the donut. They added the caption "I thought this might clear up any confusion there might have been but now adults are throwing donuts in the washer." The post (shown below) received more than 6,100 reactions, 1,300 comments and 7,300 shares in two days.
On January 18th, Vinnie's Pizzeria in Brooklyn, New York posted about Tide POD pizza on their Instagram account (shown below). However, due to the removal of content regarding the Tide POD Challenge, the post was removed by Instagram.
Tide Social Media Response
Since the popularity of the Tide POD Challenge, Tide's Twitter has been instructing people to contact poison control, if a POD is ingested (examples below). On January 18th, Mashable wrote an article about their response on social media. They wrote, "As teens participate, pretend to participate, and talk about participating in the Tide Pod Challenge, the official Tide Twitter account has assumed the unofficial role of emergency services referral."
On January 4th, 2017, Senate bill S100A was introduced by New York State Senator Brad Hotlman, which called on the creation of additional safety regulations for liquid detergent packs. On February 6th, 2018, Hotlman and Assemblymember Aravella Simotas joined a coalition of consumer groups calling on a redesign of Tide PODS, in which they cited upwards of 10,000 incidents involving the detergent throughout 2017, stating “it’s time that you recognized the danger to those least able to protect themselves from a poisonous product packaged like candy.” In a press conference, Hoylman stated that Tide PODS were "squishy, they smell sweet and they look like gummy bears." The following day, NY Mag published an article titled "New York Lawmakers Want Tide Pods to Look Less Delicious."
On November 10th, 2018, CNN Business tweeted a photograph of the Tide Eco-Box with the caption "Why Procter & Gamble will start delivering Tide in a shoe box." The tweet received more than 330 retweets and 1,300 likes in three days (shown below).
Shortly after the tweet, people on Twitter joked about how the box looked like "box wine." Twitter user @JessicaValenti tweeted, "Tide pod eaters have finally grown up and graduated to boxed-wine-Tide." The tweet received more than 325 retweets and 2,300 likes in 24 hours (shown below, left). Twitter user @TonyRomm tweeted, "oh good. kids already think tide pods are candy, and now adults are going to think it's franzia." The tweet received more than 25 retweets and 130 likes in 24 hours (shown below, center). Twitter user @marrowing tweeted, "jeez if you think teens like eating tide pods now, wait til you give them the good shit in a goon bag." The tweet received more than 45 retweets and 295 likes in 24 hours (shown below, right).
Glenlivet Capsule Collection
On October 2nd, 2019, The Glenlivet tweeted an advertisement for The Glenlivet Capsule Collection (shown below). The tweet gained over 26,400 likes and 6,500 retweets in four days. That same day, Glenlivet released a statement regarding the collection for London's Cocktail Week:
The Glenlivet ‘Capsule Collection’ is a range of delicious whisky cocktails served in a seaweed-extract casing, one of nature’s most renewable resources.
A first of its kind for a spirit brand, the edible capsules are 23ml in size, fully biodegradable and provide the perfect flavour-explosion experience. Enjoying them is simple, the capsules are popped in the mouth for an instant burst of flavour, and the capsule is simply swallowed. There is no need for a glass, ice or cocktail stirrer.
To launch the ‘Capsule Collection’ The Glenlivet has partnered with Tayēr + Elementary, one of the world’s leading bars. Award-winning bartender and co-owners of Tayēr + Elementary, Alex Kratena and Monica Berg, created three original cocktails for the capsules, which are inspired by the elements and flavours of The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve: Citrus, Wood and Spice.
On October 4th, Twitter user @brownleej tweeted, "We spend all this time convincing people not to eat tide pods and these motherfuckers just…" (shown below, left). The tweet garnered over 10,300 likes and 2,800 retweets in two days. Soon the topic of tide pods began trending on Twitter due to Glenlivet's Capule Collection. On October 5th, @maiyawoof tweeted about logging on to Twitter to see Tide Pods trending (shown below, right). The tweet accumulated over 4,000 likes an 700 retweets in a day.
 The Chicago Tribune – Column: Think the Tide pod challenge is dumb? Try mowing someone's lawn!
 The Daily Dot – Everyone thinks the boxed Tide looks like boxed wine