Creeping into a sex shop hoping no one sees you while you pick out a few toys may no longer be necessary if the entrepreneurs behind Screaming O have their way.
In late 2009, Walgreens signed a licensing deal to sell one of the company’s brands in 7,000 drugstores and the products, with bright, explicit packaging, are also sold on Amazon.com, Drugstore.com, and RiteAid.com. But now the manufacturer wants their products to have wider mainstream distribution with a new line of items in their Studio Collection that hides sex toys in lipsticks and eye shadow and face powder containers, according to a Bloomberg report.
“We stand right at the edge, says Justin Ross, one of the founders of Screaming O. “We want to market and brand ourselves as a company that sells fun without becoming so demure” that customers overlook the products.
Ross and his partner, Keith Caggiano hope the new collection will appeal to merchandising managers at big-box retailers which includes drugstores and other large chains like Target, Kmart, Walmart, and Costco. Unphased by increasing competition and a risqué proposition, the partners are convinced they have a product people want to see on their local store shelves. “When people see our brand, the barriers go down and we melt their defenses,” says Caggiano, who developed the company’s online advertising and offline promotions. “We want to find a way to help people be comfortable with themselves and their sexuality.”
Still the name Screaming O hardly leaves much to the imagination, and the “high-quality materials and stylish designs” that the duo says justify a higher price point for their products doesn’t quite coincide with the discount, budget-friendly pricing that is typical of big-box stores.
Nevertheless, Caggiano says, “Our brand has the potential to make a space for itself in pop culture.”
Pop culture maybe. But a pop-up stand inside of a drug store? I’m not so sure.
Have you come across Screaming O’s products in your local Walgreens? Do you think selling sex toys in big chain stores is a good idea or inappropriate?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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