Friday, October 19, 2012

Mayor Bloomberg vs. Trojan Vibrators

Sometimes marketing is a lot of work and sometimes marketing is just plain fun…last week it was amazing fun. Trojan vibrators took on the Mayor of New York and the Mayor backed down.

Many months ago, I got the assignment to work on positioning Trojan vibrators. The challenge was straightforward. Vibrators have been fully accepted by the American public for wide use for a long time, but we Americans have not yet admitted to ourselves that they even exist. When is the last time you had vibrators casually enter a discussion in mixed company. Probably never.

For years, I have observed vibrators are identical to Twinkies in many respects and they are:  Consumers purchase millions of each on a daily basis but as soon as we need to recruit purchasers for Focus Groups, they are hard to find. People just don’t want to admit to using vibrators or eating Twinkies. My two sons are the exception. They would never question my purchase or use of a vibrator. On the other hand, I am clear, they would nail me for eating a Twinkie. By the way, two Twinkies covered with fresh strawberries and whipped cream are to die for.

So the assignment was to develop a Selling Proposition (sales message) that accurately defines these products and at the same time characterizes them as efficacious. Why efficacious? Because they are and they need to be characterized that way so they will be accepted by Walgreens, CVS and other retail stores for easy access. Americans should be able to purchase vibrators without going into an adult bookstore and thanks to Walgreens and CVS they now can.

On Monday, the kind folks at Trojan began giving vibrators away in Manhattan to promote their arrival in local drug stores and pharmacies. The reaction was, in my mind, bizarre. It was as if they were handing out guns. The NYPD simply did not know what to do. The Mayor, in a knee jerk reaction, decided to ban Trojan from doing so. Hello mayor…what were you thinking?

After a "social media" uproar from the public, the good mayor reversed himself and the people of Manhattan are happily back to normal again.  

What I would like to know is: Where are Barack and Mitt on this issue? Can we pass out free vibrators in Salt Lake City? It’s on the schedule…so stay tuned.

What do you think? Is it ok to hand out free vibrators?


Keith Chambers

Keynote Marketing Speaker
Creative Marketing Consultant
(310) 473-0010

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