Wed, Apr 09, 2014 - Page 19 News List

Erotic firms seek to capitalize on World Cup passion by promoting off-pitch play

AFP, SAO PAULO, Brazil

Models play soccer in a soapy inflatable field set up at the Erotika Fair in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 28. The event is the biggest of its kind in Latin America and offers visitors workshops, erotic interactive games, striptease shows and a gamut of sexual aids.

Photo: AFP

All soccer lovers — and lovers — should put June 12 in their diaries, as this date is not just the day when Brazil kickoff this year’s FIFA World Cup against Croatia in Sao Paulo, it is also Lovers’ Day in the host nation.

The coincidence of dates heralds a boon for entrepreneurs plying their wares in Brazil’s expanding sex toy market. Manufacturers see a host of opportunities on what they have already dubbed “green-and-yellow sex day” in honor of the national colors.

“Don’t forget to make love,” said erotic products guru Paula Aguiar, chairperson of Brazil’s Association of Erotic Market Firms.

“We propose that on this day there is a lot of love and sex. Everyone will be glued to the TV watching the football and will rather forget about everything else, but let’s see if they do remember to give each other a bit of affection,” Aguiar said at the Erotika Fair.

Latin America’s biggest erotic fair is being held in Sao Paulo, one of the World Cup host cities and the venue for the first match.

As Brazil’s squad prepare their campaign in world soccer’s top event, Aguiar said 52 of her colleagues will launch a campaign of their own next month to ensure that the soccer does not kick sex into touch, but keeps passions running high — and sales of sex aids along with them.

In Brazil, June 12 is the equivalent of Valentine’s Day in other countries and this year, the sex industry is intent on making it one to remember, while the Brazilian Ministry of Health will do its bit by overseeing the distribution of millions of condoms as part of an anti-AIDS campaign.

With a population of 200 million, Brazil is Latin America’s biggest market for sex aids, with 8.5 million vibrators, erotic toys, body lotions, creams and lubricants sold monthly.

Wholesalers hope the fair will boost their coffers by about US$10 million through a gamut of products ranging from the cheap and cheerful, to the latest silicone vibrators. Some of the latter place technology at lustful lovers’ disposal for about US$250, featuring mini-cameras that transmit images to a computer.

Businesses are hoping the World Cup does not prove a distraction for consumers and some enterprises whose livelihoods depend on amorous activities are taking steps to make the most of the event.

“We have sports TV channels in our motel,” said Diego Winterhalter, owner of a motel for couples in Rio Grande do Sul State. “Just as offices empty out when Brazil are playing, so the motels fill up.”

He said that four years ago, during the World Cup in South Africa, his establishment was a victim of its own success.

“Our motel staff didn’t get to see a single match in peace during the South African World Cup in 2010 as it was brimful of clients,” he said.

Erotic cosmetics firm INTT likewise has an eye on how to make a mint during the tournament: with an edible massage gel which tastes of caipirinha — Brazil’s famed concoction of cachaca liquor, sugarcane and lime.

Naturally, the gel is colored green and yellow and is being marketed as “Hexa Brasil,” in homage to Brazil’s bid to chase what would be their Hexacampeao or sixth World Cup.

INTT has produced a first batch of 20,000 units of the cocktail-flavored gel to test the market and is promoting it at the fair, the overall slogan of which gives a nod to soccer: “Today is match day — and there will be a third half,” in a not-so-subtle reference to the action moving off the pitch after the final whistle.

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