So picture this: Hot dog carts on New York City street corners giving away...vibrators. Yes, what used to be called sex toys. Now they're referred to as "sexual enhancement devices."
Far fetched? Not so much. It is going on this week in the heart of Manhattan, as part of a promotion by Trojan, the folks who provide the world with condoms. They'll be giving away 10,000 of them from what they're calling pleasure carts. How did this happen?
I know you think I'll have to work hard to make this all about conversation, but in truth it is pretty easy. The Trojan promotion is indeed based on their research into how people talk about activities and products related to sex.
First off, it is not surprising that Trojan got involved in the vibrator business, which has been growing strongly over the last decade. Thing is, though, the Trojan folks found there was a kind of stigma attached to vibrator use. And it was assumed that it was primarily women who buy them, and they use them privately, or "unaccompanied" (as they say in the trade). Fact is, though, their research revealed that nearly half of vibrator sales are to men and about 40% of both men and women use them with a partner.
So it seems that although many men use the product, they don't like to talk about it. Well, Trojan decided to take the product mainstream. And to do whatever it took to change the conversation--especially among men--about the subject.
Looks like they've come a long way. According to the company's stats, vibrators are now used by couples almost as much as by unaccompanied individuals. And to underscore that point and bring a whole lot of publicity about their position in this market, Trojan is giving them away. In the beginning of this month, Trojan Vibrations gave out 4000 vibrators to attendees at the BlogHer conference, attended primarily by women bloggers. (Don't you think they are talking about this giveaway on their blogs?) You betcha!
And Trojan has opted to create a splashy PR stunt in New York. They created hot dog carts outfitted for the purpose, with catchy slogans like "Getcha vibes here!" and "Relish the moment!"
The models they are giving away have a retail price tag of up to $40, and I'll bet that there will be lines of people clamoring to get a free one. You can find out where the carts are by checking out the Trojan Vibrations Facebook page.
Now, my question is, what will these folks be talking about while they're waiting in line?