NEW YORK CITY—Anyone who's been to the "Big Apple" without buying a hot dog loaded down with mustard, sauerkraut and red onion compote from a street vendor just hasn't lived ... but on Wednesday and Thursday, those who frequent such carts had better watch out: Instead of a "dog with everything," the vendor might hand him or her a Trojan Tri-Phoria or Pulse mini-vibe.
According to today's New York Times, Trojan Vibrations, a sister company to the one that produces condoms by the bushel and which has ads all over late-night TV, will be handing out 10,000 free vibrators from "Pleasure Carts" that will be roaming Manhattan, and whose locations can be found by checking the company's Facebook page.
"What we’re doing is taking something like a hot dog cart that is so everyday and so mainstream and we’re showing people that vibrators are mainstream," said Trojan VP of Marketing Bruce Weiss.
And it's not as if people are unfamiliar with the concept. According to the Times, for the year ending July 8, "sexual enhancement devices" sold in retail stores grew 23.2 percent from the previous year, to $16.1 million, and just over half of all women and almost 45 percent of all men in the U.S. have used vibes—and just about 40 percent of the adult population has used them with sexual partners.
The $350,000 giveaway will be half Tri-Phoria vibes, which retail for $40 and half Pulse vibes, which retail for $30. The company also gave out 4,000 more of the devices at this year's BlogHer Conference which ran from August 2-4, also in New York.
One beneficial side effect of Trojan's extensive TV campaign has been an increased awareness that vibes are for both sexes.
"What’s fabulous about the way that Trojan has entered the marketplace is that a rising tide lifts all boats," said Dr. Carol Queen, curator of the Antique Vibrator Museum and staffer at Good Vibrations in San Francisco, who expected that such promotions as Trojan's would be good for the chain's business. "Going to a sexuality store like Good Vibrations or many others, you have trained people who can answer your questions and help you choose. What most customers are probably not doing is getting the greeter at Walmart to come with them to the vibrator aisle and asking them, 'Which one should I get?'"
"It sounds fantastic and I’m just delighted that there is a company that has the resources and the sex-positivity to do it," added Claire Cavanaugh, co-owner of the Babeland sexual products retail chain.
Of course, with the company on track to give out more than 14,000 of the devices in the first two weeks of August alone, Trojan's campaign is also on track to have created one of the biggest loss-leaders in recent memory—and plenty of New Yorkers will be only too happy to take advantage of it!