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Swimsuit Diskettes Add Sizzle To Generic Product

November 5, 1987

SKOKIE, Ill. (AP) _ Sex sells, and a packager of floppy disks is betting that users of personal computers are as susceptible as anyone else to the appeal of a gorgeous model in a skimpy swimsuit.

Enter Swimsuit Diskettes.

They’re no different from other premium-priced, 5 1/4 -inch diskettes on the inside. But their packaging, reminiscent of auto-parts calendars and men’s magazines, is designed more to stir the libido than to inspire users to greater heights of number-crunching.

Each box of 10 diskettes features a head-and-shoulders photo of a smiling young woman in a swimsuit. Each diskette comes in a protective paper sleeve showing the shapely model reclining in a bikini or posing in purple shorts and a tiny beaded top. Another photo of her appears in a corner of each diskette.

The Swimsuit ad slogan? ″We satisfy your drive.″

Swimsuit diskettes were conceived by RSI.Compu-Pak Inc., a suburban Chicago company which packages floppy disks for other companies and wanted to make a splash with its own line of diskettes.

″I was the one who came up with the idea because I have a Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar on my wall,″ said RSI President Barry KuKes.

″Swimsuits have nothing to do with sports, yet the swimsuit issue outsells other issues of Sports Illustrated eight-to-one,″ KuKes said in a telephone interview Tuesday. ″A swimsuit has nothing to do with a diskette, but it appeals to buyers.″

Newsstand sales of Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue are actually about 10 times higher than sales of the average issue, said the magazine’s circulation director, Michael Lobe.

KuKes said more than 80 percent of diskette buyers are men. The first limited run of 25,000 boxes, due out next week, is aimed at them.

Other editions, with other models in other swimsuits, will follow, he said.

RSI also will sell a line of Swimsuits featuring pictures of male models, KuKes said.

And a separate line of RSI floppies to benefit charities such as the Humane Society and Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo will come wrapped in pictures of dogs, zoo animals and American eagles.

RSI, with sales of about $1 million last year, is hoping its Swimsuit and other ″designer″ diskettes will attract enough attention to give it a 1 percent or 2 percent share of the $633 million diskette market.

Wholesalers already have ordered 15,000 boxes of Swimsuits, which will retail for about $20, KuKes said.

RSI may be on the right track in using eye-catching packaging to compete against such industry leaders as Maxell, 3M and Verbatim, said Phil Devin of Dataquest Inc., a high-tech marketing research firm in San Jose, Calif.

″It is one of the ways to get brand-name recognition in a market that’s fairly crowded,″he said.

″You can go into supermarkets here in California and find diskettes hanging where cigarette lighters used to. The big battle is for shelf space and brand recognition.″

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