Causing or Cleaning Up Mixed Message Mess?

8 04 2007

From today’s New York Times money and business section — “Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness — And Blending Them Into One Is Blasphemous!”

The Goods:

Form, Function and Controversy

Published: April 8, 2007

CLEANLINESS, as the saying goes, is next to godliness. But combine these two virtues into a single product and some consumers may take offense.


That is the lesson Ian Stallard, a partner in the London design firm FredriksonStallard, has learned from creating the Cross brushes, a set of cleaning tools shaped like Christianity’s most sacred symbol.

“Some people have become very upset about it,” said Mr. Stallard, recalling a number of vitriolic e-mail messages his company has received.

“We’re not trying to be nasty or arrogant,” said Mr. Stallard, who characterizes himself and Mr. Fredrikson as “nonreligious.” “We’re saying, ‘Here is a symbol with a story. Read into it whatever you want.’ ”

. . .Both brushes are available through — the scouring brush for $128 and the lint remover for $95.

Mr. Stallard said that he didn’t know how many brushes had been sold, but that he was surprised by the products’ popularity among religious consumers.

“People have told us that they’ve bought it because they like having a Christian artifact,” he said. Other consumers — perhaps the more traditional clientele for FredriksonStallard’s avant-garde vases and coffee tables — have been attracted to the brushes as wry takes on faith.



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