June 03, 2014


(Note: Last box added by me!)

Description: A sex toy
Main Pitch: "A personal massage at your fingertips"
Main Offer: $19.95 for one with zipper pouch
Bonus: Double the offer (just pay processing)
Marketer: Tristar
Website: www.GetuJoy.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

In 1999, two sex toys appeared on the Jordan Whitney annual chart: Merchant Media's Fuzuoko 9000 at No. 6 (changed from the original name, "Fukuoko") and a Telebrands follower called Vibra Touch at No. 23. Back then, you couldn't get away with putting a sex toy on TV unless you followed the print trick of pretending it was a "personal massager" for any area except the intended area.

Fifteen years later, Church & Dwight has advanced the industry by advertising sex toys without pretending they're for shoulder and neck pain (which would be difficult given the names they've chosen). Briefly: Their Vibrating Touch appeared on the DRTV charts from 2008 to 2011, topping out at No. 2 on the 2011 JW Annual. That year, their Tri-Phoria was also No. 41 on the IMS Top 50. The following year, a re-branded Trojan Vibrations campaign was No. 7 on the JW Annual, and Vibrating Twister was No. 12 on the IMS Top 50.

Each of these campaigns took a subtle approach -- women whispering to each other, women with their hair blown back, a strong push to go online for testimonials, etc. -- but none used the old "personal massager" lie as more than a descriptor. Which brings me to this project ...

Like the first time it was tested (see uTouch, No. 9 in this Weekly Round-Up), the product revives the lie -- except now the creative team has decided to borrow a few pages from the Church & Dwight playbook at the same time. That might seem like a good idea at first: Looking back at my first review, the creative was so subtle that even I was left to wonder if the uTouch was trying to be "a real personal massager." But the effect of the decision to be more obvious this time around is a commercial that is more disturbing than funny. America could chuckle at the corny jokes in any of Blue Moon's commercials for Church & Dwight, but not so in this case. By the time the product disappears under the table and the woman starts moaning, even though you know she's going to be massaging something innocuous, you feel like cringing instead of laughing.

Returning to the category for a moment, the recent failure of Media Enterprises' One Massager made me wonder: Perhaps like many categories from the 'Golden Age' of DRTV, this category was killed by the Internet. Looking at retail, DR marketers might be tempted to think of sex toys as an open category -- but that's just because retailers value their public images and because most people prefer the discretion of ordering online. That last point means the entire Internet is the real competition products in this category face, and that makes this a very crowded category. Indeed, only a company with Church & Dwight's clout, ad budgets and background (they have sold retailers condoms for decades, after all) can make it work.

1 comment:

  1. Love the double offer of the double probed massager!