Three years ago, British sex toy company Hot Octopuss caused a stir when it launched PULSE, the world’s first vibrator for men. But when Hot Octopuss wanted to expand overseas, and particularly the US, agency Manifest was tasked with making an old product new news.
It was asked to position Hot Octopuss as a forward-thinking brand, while driving traffic to its website and generating sales of PULSE. Manifest started by conducting an in-depth social listening programme, researching online conversations about sex and masturbation. This revealed that many people still viewed masturbation as a taboo subject that they would not openly discuss.
However, research has demonstrated the health benefits of masturbation while a Time Out survey suggested one third of people masturbate at work. To break down taboos and get people talking about masturbation, Manifest created the world’s first GuyFi booth in the centre of Manhattan, a place for men to ‘destress’.
It launched the booth on Blue Monday, the third Monday in January which is officially the most depressing day of the year. The GuyFi booth was a phone booth, with GuyFi and Hot Octopuss branding and a curtain for privacy. Manifest sent out images of the booth to the media, with a carefully worded press release outlining the benefits of taking a break and the pros of masturbation.
The GuyFi booth sparked interest across the world. Three national publications in America, including The New York Times, which sent a reporter to try out the booth, covered the story, as well as four national titles in Britain, including The Daily Mirror and The Sun. The story attracted more than 9,000 pieces of coverage across 44 countries, including Australia’s International Business Times and America’s Saturday Night Live, with four million viewers. Hot Octopuss’ founder Adam Lewis was also invited to appear on television, including the Howard Stern Show and daytime broadcasts in Australia.
Social media conversations around masturbation increased by 74 per cent immediately after the launch of GuyFi. Website traffic to Hot Octopuss increased by 2,496 per cent, of whom 94 per cent were new visitors, while sales of PULSE rose 100 per cent. Hot Octopuss also received requests from potential stockists and partners, including xHamster, one of the world’s top 100 websites. The total cost of the campaign: £6,600.
‘This was a great value campaign,’ said the judges. ‘It was a simple idea that was extremely well executed, and drew on insight.’