Going 'quackers' over condoms
By Melissa Wall,
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".