Branded Condoms Rise to the Occasion

By Jason Menard

Whether it’s because the city’s “hard up” for cash or looking to create a little “stiff” marketing competition, New York City is looking to release an NYC-branded condom in the next few months – but one would hope not prematurely!

OK, I think I got the phallic jokes out of my system? No, probably not. I’m sure there are more than a few Big Apple references just waiting to be beaten to death.

Of course, turning a cold shower on all the fun, a representative from the city’s Department of Mental Health and Hygiene said in a recent edition of The New York Times that the venture is just a way to better track the success of the city’s free condom distribution program.

But, pun entirely intended (and you might as well expect it from the rest of this column…) why not think big? It’s time for the savvy marketers to rise to the occasion and give birth to a new line of geographically referential condoms.

Just think of the tie-ins? In fact, why not tie in prophylactic styles with locations they represent? “No sir, I don’t think the Empire State condom is your thing… perhaps you’d like to see something in our Arkansas line? Little Rock perhaps?” Or for those lacking a little girth, may we suggest something in the Seattle Space Needle line?

Of course, that’s just the lubricated tip. From “I went gambling and got f***ed in Las Vegas” rubbers to “Washington’s Other Monument” condoms, prophylactic marketing may be the way of the future.

And why just stick south of the 49 th? The world is filled with phallic representations in architecture that are just waiting to be exploited. Imagine a tag line for Britain’s Big Ben Brand – “Performance and durability, time and time again.” And one would be remiss in neglecting Paris’ impact on romance without mentioning an Eiffel Tower-inspired French Tickler, “Passion at Night from the City of Lights.” And for our homosexual friends, a slogan of “Put the Gay back in Paree” may work.

Of course, closer to home, we have our own evidence of penis envy – the CN Tower. And like we don’t have a ready-made slogan for that product – just two syllables, “T. Ohhhh!” Head out west and pick up your Rocky Mountain Rubbers or visit la belle province for a little Montreal-inspired work-to-live wear (we will stay far, far away from any Smoked Meat or Steamed Hot Dog references for our Montrealers’ sake).

And, of course, we mustn’t forget the special issue Bloc Quebecois condoms – you know, for the couple who want to separate but is stuck with each other. Now, if there was only some marketing tie-in for our national animal…

There really is no barrier to the creativity that cities can use when developing their own line of prophylactics. And in a world that takes itself far too seriously sometimes, it’s good to be able to laugh at ourselves once in a while.

Sex is the great taboo subject in our society. We’re fascinated by it, participants in it, and – in large part – motivated by it. Yet, we stray away from the topic or treat it with a reverence bordering on fear. When, in fact, sex should be fun. At it’s best it’s a shared experience between two people who care deeply about each other and feel comfortable with each other.

What better way to show how comfortable you feel with your partner than to be able to laugh with each other? To feel so secure, so free, and so content that you’re willing to lose all inhibitions and just share in each other’s love?

New York’s on the right track, especially when you consider the threat that sexually transmitted diseases pose to our society. By breaking down the fear and reservations that we have about discussing sexuality in public through humour, New York City’s Health Unit will successfully engage people into conversations that, in all seriousness, could be about life and death. When people feel secure enough to engage in frank discussions about sexuality, they’ll have a better chance of taking steps towards exhibiting responsible sexual behaviour.

And, as long as no one takes a bite out of the Big Apple, no one should get hurt!

2006© Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved

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