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Gift: Safe Sex with Musical Condoms
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A package of Idom, a musical condom, and its contents, a music CD and a condom, are seen at a store in Hong Kong January 19, 2007.

Forget chocolates or roses this Valentine's Day -- a gift of musical condoms is bound to be more entertaining.

Hong Kong's Ondo Creation, which makes designer condoms, hopes its Idom sheathes will put a more romantic spin on safe sex -- and reduce the risk of a slap on the face that a pack of six might elicit among some conservative Asians.

The Idom itself doesn't sing -- but the mint, strawberry, chocolate and banana flavored condoms come in an attractive package with a music CD to get you in the mood for love.

"We create an environment for lovers who would like to try a different experience," said Victor Tsang who runs Ondo Creation.

"We try to create products that are not embarrassing, but very trendy and hip. It's a lifestyle product," he added.

Cynics may scoff at the marketing gloss, but the 18 month start-up's products sell across the world. The firm also won a bronze medal in the Industrial Design Excellence Awards run in conjunction with BusinessWeek magazine, which said Ondo had managed to "revitalize the image of condoms."

Tsang, a former IT executive, says his product was inspired by a desire to promote safe sex and to provide a fun, relaxed alternative for what he calls "more conservative" customers.

The brand eschews regular prophylactic distributors, instead peddling its wares in bookstores, record shops and trendy nightspots in a long list of cities that includes Hong Kong, London, Paris, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Tokyo and Singapore.

"We're targeting more lifestyle stores, rather than 7-11's and pharmacies," said Tsang.

"There's a market gap in the condom industry that we may be able to make fun -- and also penetrate," said Tsang who expected a 30 percent surge in sales ahead of Valentine's Day.

The Idom's Exotica, Chocotasy and Loveberry brands come with CD compilations of chillout, acid jazz and dance music.

"The music starts slow, then medium, then becomes fast before getting slow again," said Jack Wong, who helped with the music.

He shrugs off the fact that the CDs run for exactly 18 minutes: "Whether this is long enough or not, really depends on the individual."

(China Daily January 23, 2007)

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