LANCASTER, Texas—There are a lot of religious folks in Texas, a fact which has given rise to such interesting developments as America's Dark Ages (2000-2008), Lawrence v. Texas and even attempts a couple of years ago to prosecute adult retailers who stock novelties and women who sell novelties on the home party circuit—until the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals pulled the rug out from under such cases by striking down laws against selling dildos, vibrators and other pleasure gadgets in the state with its ruling in Reliable Consultants v. Earle.
But with novelties' new-found legality comes the question of how best to advertise them, and the Sara's Secrets/Condoms To Go chain, which has 12 stores in the state, has come up with a couple of knee-slappers, including the pictured billboard on I-35 and the TV ad that gave rise to it.
"We ran that at the end of last year," explained Sara's Secret VP and Chief Counsel Gary Krupkin. "We try to make our advertising entertaining and edgy; those are the two words we keep in mind. Because anybody can watch a whole evening of TV and I bet that they cannot recall one commercial, so obviously you've got to do something that will stand out from the noise, and this commercial hits the spot, and the billboards are kind of a follow-up to it."
"What we want to do is create advertising that will stir people," he continued. "Whether they're stirred because they don't like the advertising or stirred because they find it really funny, this particular combination really hit the spot. Here in Texas, which is a pretty conservative state, the churchgoers certainly give us their opinion, but CBS-11 did a story on it last night, and if you go to the comments underneath it, you'll see that the positive comments are overwhelming compared to the negative ones. People have come to our website and commented, and we're getting more positive comments there too."
One of the news story commenters tellingly wrote, "Texas is number one in teen pregnancy and the number one State for teens with multiple children. We are ranked up there in obesity, too. Maybe we should have MORE conversations about vegetables?!"
Sara's Secret has taken that comment to heart.
"We're planning on coming out with more commercials that are going to be very, very creative," Krupkin told AVN. "We're doing a series of commercials right now, 'Sex in the Shower,' in conjunction with Sportsheets."
The commercials, including another mildly risque one about the family washer, have been running on four or five local cable channels.
And as for the complaints about the cucumber billboard?
"We think there are some folks who are going to try to pressure the city to force us to take down the billboards," Krupkin said. "I don't know how the city is going to react; I haven't heard from them yet."
"What we'd really like to do is to get this up to Leno," he continued, "because he goes through newspapers and stuff and picks out funny ads all the time. This would be right in his wheelhouse."
The ad campaign is the creation of Dallas-based advertising firm Dieste.