Doc Johnson goes Hollywood

Here I am binge-watching House of Lies after work and lo and behold, who is Galweather Stern's new client? None other than Doc Johnson. For those of you who only buy top quality toys from great stores who know their stuff, like mine, you may never have heard of Doc Johnson, so I'll fill you in. Doc Johnson is one of the oldest and biggest makers of sex toys in the world. Check out their website and you'll see thousand and thousands of different items.

I was shocked to see that the show actually uses them and names them, instead of making up a fictional toy company, they were actually working with a real one. I wonder how much Doc Johnson paid to get this storyline.

The story is pretty cool - although I haven't watched the end yet so I won't give any spoilers. In the show, the pod is brought in to help them come up with a new marketing strategy. What's interesting is to watch the reactions of each of them to working with this client. It's also fun to watch them tour the factory. I have never seen some of these things being made and it looks like those shots actually came from inside the factory, not from a sound stage.

But here's the thing. Doc Johnson kinda sucks. One of the main reasons I don't buy their stuff is that they lie (more on that later). And in this episode, they are lying. I did learn tonight that Doc Johnson actually does make some of its products in the USA. I didn't know that. In the show, the head of Doc Johnson (played by Adam Brody), says that he's trying to carry on the legacy of his father who had a commitment to doing business in America. What the show leaves out, is that this commitment is quite new - they haven't been manufacturing in the USA all that long. What they also leave out is that not all of their products are made in the USA. A lot of the dildos are, but most of their vibrators are still made in China. During their tour of the factory the 'owner' says that they make better products than their competitors but they are getting killed on price because everybody else makes cheap stuff in China. Hmmmmmm He also goes on to list some of the fine materials that they use, some of which are not real things, like hypoallergenic rubber.

Yep, typical Doc Johnson. We carry just one Doc Johnson product. It's a very simple plastic vibrator. I won't carry anything else they make, and this is why:

1. They produce a lot of shitty stuff - a LOT. There are so many products that it's almost impossible to sort them all out. While they have upped their game in terms of quality over the last ten years and started producing quite a few 100% silicone toys, they have kept on producing all of their awful jelly rubber dildos.

2. They participate in the rampant racism and sexism that is a big part of the old school sex toy industry. They have an inordinate number of 'big black cock' toys. The way they package, name, and market most of their 'lifelike' masturbation toys (ie. toys that are modeled on the vulvas of real women, or look like they were) is questionable at best. They are certainly not the only company to do this. California Exotics does it too and we carry some of their toys. Cal Exotics, however, has toned it down considerably over the last few years. Doc Johnson is changing the packaging and marketing on some of their older toys but much more slowly, it seems.

3. They tell stories that aren't 100% true. This show is only one example of it, but I've seen it many times. They call a product silicone but fail to mention that it's not 100% silicone. They call something sil-a-gel because they know that sounds like silicone, when really it's just another blended rubber. I once sat in on a seminar where the head of Doc Johnson strongly implied that the Rabbit used in the famous Sex and the City episode was made by Doc Johnson. It wasn't! You can see the packaging on the show - it's Vibratex!

4. They have questionable business practices. Back in the wonderful years when all of the small new companies that were making wonderful, quality products, were just getting their foot in the door, there was this beautiful thing called the AVN Sex Toy Expo. I was lucky enough to attend once when it was at its height. The second time I attended, I found out that a coup was afoot. Certain companies, who call themselves 'founders' - because apparently they founded the AVN show - decided the AVN (adult video news) was not meeting their needs - and it seems their needs were to control everything and be the stars of the show. So they decided to take their toys and make their own show. This devastated the AVN. Those four companies represented a huge portion of their exhibitor revenue. Not only that, but a lot of other companies pulled out of the AVN for fear of pissing off the founders. Then, the founders limited access to their show - cherry-picking only the companies that they had a good relationships and that they felt were not a threat to them. There is such a thing as just producing a great product, doing good marketing, and letting the customer decide - but Doc Johnson chose not to play that way.

It's funny to watch them on this show acting like they make the best product and they just can't get a break because everyone keeps undercutting them. In real life, it's the other way around. Doc Johnson has a strangle-hold on the sex toy market in North America and they are bound and determined to keep it.

Well, I guess it's appropriate that they chose to market this story on a show called 'House of Lies'.


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