Erotic retailer Beate Uhse, whose brand name is as well known in Germany as Mercedes or Volkswagen, hopes its new range of products will attract World Cup tourists for whom the very German sight of sex shops prominently located in city centers may be a novelty.
"A lot of tourists only associate sex shops with red light districts back home. Here they'll come across such stores right in the city center. People are a lot more open these days and we think many will visit our stores just for souvenirs," said Beate Uhse spokeswoman Assia Tschernookoff.
The company has brought out a range of six "sporty vibrators" emblazoned with descriptions including "Team Captain" and "Home Player." Bizarrely, they do indeed look "sporty" -- so much so that one can imagine them going for a jog if left alone.
Other products include tight-fitting soccer jerseys for women, an "Erotic Energy Drink" and string tangas in the colors of Germany, Italy or Brazil which, according to the company, "guarantees an erotic home game that is a lot more exciting than any football tournament."
"It could bring people into our shops," said Tschernookoff. Once inside, they may opt for a specially filmed "World Cup Porno" DVD which consists of the following plot: A group of men have been stricken by football fever and are neglecting their girlfriends, who promptly solve the problem by slipping on sexy football shirts to make themselves irresistible once again. The film's main star, 'Manuel', is a real football player from a regional German division, boasts the retailer.
Founder a legend in Germany
The chain's late founder, Beate Uhse, is a legend in Germany. An air force test pilot during World War II, she went on to embody the country's post-war economic miracle by building Europe's largest sex shop empire. She is credited with having almost single-handledly liberated the country's conservative attitude towards sex by pursuing what she called a matter-of-fact and "orderly" approach to her business.
Banned from pursuing a career as a pilot after the war, Beate Uhse became a door-to-door saleswoman selling toys, and in the process came across many women with unwanted pregnancies.
Remembering what her mother, one of Germany's first female doctors, had told her about natural contraception, she wrote an instruction pamphlet. It became a bestseller and she started a mail-order business in 1946 which soon branched out into offering a comprehensive range of contraceptives and sex toys. She died in 2001 aged 81.
The group has around 300 retail stores and generated sales of €280 million in 2004. Since launching itself on the stock market, it has funded a European expansion drive and now has stores in 13 countries.