In an effort to create buzz for its line of Vibrations vibrators, condom maker Trojan is giving away 10,000 of the pleasure devices Wednesday and Thursday on the streets of New York City.
Tourists and residents alike can pick up their free vibrators at Trojan Vibrations Pleasure Carts - modeled after New York's ubiquitous hot dog carts - parked at specific locations around town. The two vibrator styles, Trojan Tri-Phoria Intimate Massager and Trojan Pulse Intimate Massager, which first launched in 2010, usually retail for $30 and $40 apiece.
"We're always looking for ways to advance this effort by fostering an open dialogue about sexual health and creating unique moments that get people 'buzzing' about sex and pleasure," Bruce Weiss, Trojan's vice president for marketing, said in a statement.
A spokeswoman for the company said the publicity generated through these giveaways might help remove the social stigma associated with talking about or using the devices.
"What we're doing is taking something like a hot dog cart that is so everyday and so mainstream," Weiss told the New York Times, "and we're showing people that vibrators are mainstream."
Larry Woodard, advertising columnist for ABC News, called the campaign a "very smart one for Trojan," because "many vibrators designed specifically for sexual pleasure are sold in places that some consumers may not want to be seen entering.
"Because Trojan is part of a very established mainstream company, they can get awa with this giveaway tactic," said Woodard, who is also chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies' New York Council. Trojan, located in Princeton, N.J., is owned by Church & Dwight Co. Inc., which also owns Arm & Hammer baking soda, First Response pregnancy test kids and Nair hair removal products.
Although Trojan advertises on television, giveaway campaigns like this are probably a better way to spread the word, said Brian Steinberg, TV editor at Advertising Age.
"For things you can't talk about in polite circles, you're better off doing a guerilla campaign so people can get a hold of the product themselves," Steinberg said. "It's probably better to distribute them on the street and let people make their own decision about it."
The Trojan Vibrations Pleasure Carts are likely to arouse interest. In a news release, Weiss pointed to a study from the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2009, that found 53 percent of women and 45 percent of men have used a vibrator in their lifetime.
In a separate promotion, the company distributed 4,000 vibrators at the annual BlogHer conference for female bloggers last week.