Penis on Renuzit Can

Did a 1995 can of Renuzit air freshener include a phallic image?

Claim:   The label on a 1995 can of Renuzit air freshener included a deliberately planted phallic image.


FALSE


Origins:   In March 1995, Dial Corp. introduced a new can for the Fresh Cut Flowers scent of their Renuzit air freshener product, featuring a label

Renuzit can

festooned with pictures of tulips. Within two months, both Dial and retailers started receiving complaints about a phallic image that allegedly appeared on the side of the can. Immediately the rumors began to fly: Was it a form of subliminal advertising? A publicity stunt? The product of a disgruntled art director? Answer: none of the above.

Although remarkably phallic in shape, the image was indeed part of a picture of a flower that was awkwardly cropped to fit the label. According to Dial, when the can had been redesigned about nine months earlier, the tulip on the aerosol can was cropped by the seam of the can, leaving one petal detached from the rest of the flower. The same picture — with a different trim — was used on Renuzit’s LongLast Roomate air freshener cans and showed that

the “phallus” was unquestionably a tulip. (A widespread rumor had it that a disgruntled art director at The Dial Corp had superimposed his penis into a shot of cut flowers. All incidentally phallic images appearing on product packaging are apparently actually the product of disgruntled artists, as evidenced by similar rumors involving The Little Mermaid video cover and a Topps Star Wars trading card.)

Dial did not recall and destroy the questionable cans, although they did hide the petal behind a green leaf on cans already in stock and created a new photo and label for use on subsequent cans.

Last updated:   4 May 2011


Sources:




    Cummins, Cathy.   “Freshener Cans Raise Eyebrows.”

    The Tampa Tribune.   18 May 1995   (p. 6).

    Gilgoff, Henry.   “Clearing the Air About a Label.”

    Newsday.   9 June 1995   (p. A42).

    Leavenworth, Jesse.   “Petal’s Peculiarity Has Renuzit Aflutter.”

    The Hartford Courant.   10 June 1995   (p. A3).


Snopes.com
Since 1994
A Word to Our Loyal Readers

Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.

Editorial
  • David Mikkelson
  • Doreen Marchionni
  • David Emery
  • Bond Huberman
  • Jordan Liles
  • Alex Kasprak
  • Dan Evon
  • Dan MacGuill
  • Bethania Palma
  • Liz Donaldson
Operations
  • Vinny Green
  • Ryan Miller
  • Chris Reilly
  • Chad Ort
  • Elyssa Young

Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.

We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.

Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.

Team Snopes