Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Kobe! Kobe! Kobe!
Kobe, Japan Tries to Make Condoms Fun;
Kobe, Bryant Resumes Endorsement Career
(KOBE, Japan )
With bare-skinned porn stars providing a negative example, Japan is turning a few new tricks to get men to wear condoms. Japan is now turning to internationally-recognized athletes as role models for rubber awareness.
Japan's condom industry has seen limp sales since the mid-nineties, mainly due to decreased use of condoms by young men and scores of people who just don't have sex.
Akira Fuji, sales director at Laincoates, Inc., Japan's largest condom manufacturer, says the condom's image is largely responsible for the soft sales.
"Condoms have a negative image and are often stereotyped as "raincoats" and "rubbers" -not objects which can provide intense, erotic pleasure. People tend to use condoms as a last resort rather than first choice, " said Fuji.
"We tried glow-in-the-dark, flavored, ribbed, nubbed- you name it. Anything to get a rise in sales. Finally, we hit upon the idea of KobeKustom Kondoms." he said, adding that NBA superstar Bryant is revered among Japanese sports fans.
"Since Kobe was cleared of the charges against him, he is once more a hot celebrity endorser. Laincoates is thrilled to have him," said Fuji.
"We spent three years for research and development of the KobeKustom Kondom," he said.
It is for those who would like to imagine the sensation of a studly NBA superstar making love to a beautiful groupie."
Behind the gimmick, though, he said the special condoms had a serious point. More young women are falling pregnant because of men who believe withdrawal before ejaculation can prevent pregnancy and diseases, he said.
"Condoms are fun! We must get our message to young people," Fuji said.