NeverWet, the super-hydrophobic spray coating that promises to make items miraculously liquid repellent, hit the market this past June, and viewers who’d seen the online video showing NeverWet—coated iPhones and T-shirts withstanding red-wine vinegar and gravy could finally test the spray themselves. We track the hot/cold/lukewarm reactions to the product, illustrating how quickly an item in the culture can evolve from greatest thing ever to colossal disappointment before finally settling as largely forgettable. $20; neverwet.com.
Pre-Awareness: Wired.com posts a YouTube video that becomes a small viral hit, showing NeverWet—coated shoes repelling liquids such as water and chocolate syrup.
Hype: Buzzfeed, the Internet’s repository of videos and lists, creates its own NeverWet video titled “Proof That Science Is Sorcery.”
Full-Blown: NeverWet hits retail stores, selling for $20.
Overblown: Matt Lauer tests the product on the Today show, saying NeverWet made his pants a “little sticky,” and “they don’t smell so great.”
Backlash: Reviews hit the Internet, calling the product chalky, filmy and single-use only. A sample from HomeDepot.com: “Not ready for prime time.”
Backlash to the Backlash: Gizmodo, the go-to blog for gadget news, posts a review: “It works! Sure, its protective barrier starts crumbling in under ten minutes, but that’s a vast improvement over our original expectation of approximately zero minutes.”