Hitachi Magic WandThere were tweets flying in the sexy-blogging community last week about Hitachi taking steps to distance itself from its famous Hitachi Magic Wand “personal massager” product, widely and justly famous as a very powerful (because it’s got a power cord that plugs into the wall, and a large motor) sexual vibrator. (It’s the one with the large bulbous head that you see in all the “forced orgasm” BDSM porn, like the porn I linked to here.)

But it wasn’t clear from the tweets exactly what had gone down. Did Hitachi stop making the vibrator for commercial reasons and sell off the “Magic Wand” brand and design IP? Or did they just take “Hitachi” off the package because they were skeeved by the sexual success of their “massager”? Nothing was clear.

This article by Laura Anne Stuart For Express Milwaukee goes a long way toward clarifying the situation. In The Rebirth of the Magic Wand, we learn that:

[The Magic Wand’s] inventor and manufacturer has been growing increasingly uncomfortable with the Magic Wand’s reputation as a sex toy. Hitachi, a Japanese company, also makes and many other products, and it doesn’t want its brand name to be primarily associated with orgasms. Like that famous scene from Sex and the City where Samantha pays a visit to Sharper Image, the company insists in vain, “It’s not a vibrator—it’s a neck massager!”

The Magic Wand is distributed in the United States by Vibratex… According to the Vibratex rep at ILS, Hitachi had decided to stop manufacturing the Magic Wand altogether. Vibratex, sensing the wailing, gnashing of teeth and possible rioting that would ensue if this came to pass, convinced the company to keep producing it, but remove the Hitachi name from the product. In June, the Hitachi Magic Wand will be re-launched as the Original Magic Wand, with new packaging and a slightly different design.

The rest of the article has some interesting information about the sexual history of the Hitachi Magic Wand, along with user-impressions of the minor design changes (basically: minor improvements).

As Laura Ann Stewart points out, sex-shop customers currently ask for “the Hitachi” and not the “Magic Wand” when they are shopping for a powerful vibrator. I know Hitachi is a huge industrial company, but it doesn’t have any other product brand associations for me; say “Hitachi” to me and I think “Magic Wand”. I’m fascinated by the brand management calculus under which that’s a bad thing to be rooted out, rather than a seedling to be nurtured and grown.

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