The Daily Press - Lifestyles section

The new Rubber Ducky condoms also have a line of paraphernalia including a witty T-shirt.

Rubber Ducky
Going 'quackers' over condoms

By Melissa Wall,
staff writer

If you haven't been to the beach this year, prepare yourself. If you haven't checked out the birth control section of the local pharmacy lately, don't be surprised. They've got a duck selling prophylactics. Not a real duck, but this character who looks like he stepped out of some comic book. He's called Rubber Ducky, and he's supposed to have the looks and personality to change the way teen-agers look at condoms. Big job for a little duck. So far, the bird's thought to have peddled more than half a million condoms since he took off during colleges' spring breaks. Rubber Duckys (package of 3 $1.99 and 12, $5.99), along with T-shirt, mugs, bumper stickers and visors are the hottest items on the Atlantic Coast this summer. Windows in souvenir and surf shops from Virginia to Maine to Texas are plastered with Rubber Ducky T-shirts and paraphernalia, labeled with such Witticisms as "The Fit That Won't Quit" or "The Original After Party Animal". "Everybody's buying them." Says Stefanie Thomas, assistant manager of Neptune's Treasures in Virginia Beach. People ranging from teen-agers to 50-year-oods are scarfing up Rubber Ducky' the store sells half a dozen or more packs of condoms a day. "I think it's funny. It's cute, Thomas adds. It's the hottest thing we have this year." And the questions: Does it work? Yes, they're made by the same company that makes Lifestyles, one of the top selling condoms in the country. Do they quack? No, but the boxes do come with the duck's mug. Thomas was afraid people might be offended, but the only problem has been with small children wanting to buy the cute little fellow. Adults handle that by saying "It's a grown up toy." As for controversy, Thomas says "I don't think it's a problem. You're promoting safe sex." Whether it's the pastel prophylactic labeled a trendy fad, an affront to morality, or as its creator would have it-a contribution to the betterment of mankind, let it be know that the Rubber Ducky condom is a great selling idea. Where was it created this stroke of marketing originality? In the Trojan board room by a group of middle-aged cigar-smoking men? NO!. In the bureaucratic offices of the surgeon general? NO! Inside the gray matter of David Letterman? NO!. It was on a Texas highway. Steve Finley remembers well the birth of Rubber Ducky condoms. He and his wife, Lisha, were cruising the flat Texas highways headed for South Padre Island, thinking up ideas. That's Finley's specialty-thinking up things nobody else has, or at least has done well-with a successful background in creating/developing sunscreen, aloe and lip products. their first company made the Inc. 500. "We hope to do it again".