Maria Perez Muniz

“We have never been the type of brand to stick only to one channel.”

Media Markt is a brand of the German MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group, the biggest electronics chain in Europe. Currently, there are more than 800 Media Markt stores in 14 countries, and obviously, the company also has a strong online presence. On May 2, the electronics chain started adding sex toys to the range of their online shop, mediamarkt.de – including LELO products. To learn more about this collaboration, EAN spoke with LELO’s European Trade Marketing Manager, María Pérez.


 

How did the cooperation with Media Markt start?
María Pérez Muñiz: Starting with the very first LELO toy (LILY), we have always done things differently. We challenged the perception of sex toys by creating a pleasure product for women that wasn’t phallic in nature; it was innovative. And just like our products, our sales channels have been innovative too. We have never been the type of brand to stick only to one channel. We launched in boutiques to bring pleasure to the mainstream, and today we sell in some of the world’s best and biggest department stores, including Selfridges in London and Dolce and Gabbana in Milan, in addition to the many traditional erotic channels.

Expanding in to Media Markt seemed like a natural progression to us. They specialise in tech products, and that’s exactly what our products are; it was just a natural fit. It’s great to have such a big mainstream tech and media giant stocking our products. It really does show how far sex toys have come in terms of public perception.

Which LELO Products are offered through Media Markt online? Are there plans to offer LELO toys in their stores as well?
We’re offering the full LELO range, from our world famous MONA Wave and INA Wave, featuring unique ‘come hither’ motion, to our decadently luxurious TIANI 24k gold couples’ massager and, of course, our bestselling HUGO prostate massager. These and other LELO favourites can be found on www.mediamarkt.de. They are even selling our latest innovation, the new HEX condom, which won the gold prize at this year’s A Design Product Awards.

For the time being, our products will only be available online, but in the future, who knows? Being listed in the Media Markt online shop is a great achievement in itself. As we see our products being sold in non-traditional channels, it becomes clear how far we have come in achieving our goal of making people feel more comfortable about their desire for pleasure.

“As we see our products being sold in non-traditional channels, it becomes clear how far we have come in achieving our goal of making people feel more comfortable about their desire for pleasure.”

Is this cooperation a first or is LELO already working with other large ‘mainstream chains’?
If you go to Milan and visit the flagship Dolce and Gabbana store, you will see our products there. Back in 2014, we launched in Selfridges in London, the world’s number one department store. This year, we hit the shelves in Muller and DM in Croatia. In Germany, we proudly fill the shelves in Galleries Lafayette and in the USA, our HEX condom is stocked at Target, Walmart, and Rite Aid.

Our plan is to continue to expand globally, adding more and more mainstream channels as well as adult retailers. This is the only way to help remove the stigma surrounding sex toys and make more people comfortable getting the type of product that brings them sexual satisfaction.

What prerequisites do LELO’s potential partners in the mass market have to meet?
For us, it’s very simple: The mass market represents an opportunity to show pleasure products in a new light, taking desire and sensuality out of the shadows and into the mainstream. We hope to find partners in the mass market who also share our vision and understand that sex and pleasure are not something we need to hide, but rather something we can proudly display centre stage. There is demand for it; we can see people embracing this now.

We no longer have to fear people objecting to seeing our products somewhere unexpected, a far cry from 15 years ago. It’s wonderful to see this development, and we want to continue to bring pleasure to the masses.

What expectations does LELO have about this collaboration with Media Markt?
We want to make sex toys mainstream. We hope Media Markt’s customers embrace our products, while also embracing their sensual side.

Are there plans for collaborations with companies from the mass market?
We’re always looking for new ways to bring pleasure to the front of people’s mind – watch this space!

“We no longer have to fear people objecting to seeing our products somewhere unexpected, a far cry from 15 years ago.”

Vibrators next to washing machines and electronic toothbrushes – is that the future of LELO products?
Every LELO product is an invention. We strip back the product, its purpose and functionality, to design it from the ground up. Our products have won awards for design and are praised by some of the most reputable tech organisations in the world. Our ORA won a Cannes Lions for Product Design. Our SMART WANDS, featuring SenseTouch technology, won the Red Dot Design Award back in 2014, and as mentioned, our newest product, the HEX condom, recently won gold at the A Design Awards.

It seems perfectly natural that our products should be sitting next to household and beauty products. Media Markt stocks washing machines, refrigerators, hairdryers, vacuum cleaners, blenders, and more; all items that can be found in our homes and that have been designed to make our lives more convenient and more pleasurable. So why not sex toys too?

Some experts doubt that the consumers want to buy love toys in the mass market. What is LELO’s response to those statements?
We actively work to remove this stigma, and as our products are openly displayed and discussed, we’re helping people stop feeling ashamed about something that is perfectly natural. In Asia, it’s normal to go to the local corner shop and be able to buy carton of milk and a sex toy, all under one roof. Sex toys in China are actually displayed right at the checkout counter, next to the chewing gum. The West still has a ways to go before we become this comfortable with sex toys, but we are making headway. We’ve come pretty far over the past 15 years, and we are certainly moving in the right direction.

“Sex toys in China are actually displayed right at the checkout counter, next to the chewing gum. The West still has a ways to go before we become this comfortable with sex toys, but we are making headway.”

Which target group is LELO focussing on with this collaboration?
Sex and desire are perfectly natural, so we consider everyone who shops at Media Markt to be the perfect target. They all have desires, they just might need a little bit of encouragement to explore them.

What role do adult retailers play in this collaboration?
Adult retailers only stand to benefit from this mainstream exposure as our sales and marketing efforts have shown. The more our products are seen in magazines, on websites, in movies, TV shows, and are being talked about by celebrities, the more we all benefit: LELO, all of our retailers, and our competitors as well. By reaching out to a new audience that has never been targeted, we’re exponentially increasing the number of consumers, now and in the future – without pulling existing customers away from traditional adult stores to mainstream channels.

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