For Harry Horn of Middleton, WI, what began as a metaphorical tagline for safe sex to sell on T-shirts became a business plan with a specific mission to help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among young teens.

Originally, Mr. Horn, father of Lauren Horn ’12, and his business associate David Schield thought that this pun was funny enough to be put on a T-shirt, so they began putting together a marketing campaign to sell the idea.

However, their business model and overall objective for the campaign changed shortly thereafter when they saw an article in their local newspaper in Middletown, about the increasing rate of STIs among adolescents. Being that they are both parents of teenagers, the article convinced them to change not only their business model, but the whole meaning of the alliterative phrase as well.

“Camo has taken on a whole new meaning for our campaign. Now it is ‘Camo Condoms: they’ll never see it coming!’ referring to the prevention of the STI,” wrote Mr. Horn in an email message.

The mission statement for the campaign reads: “To further social awareness in the prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) and unwanted pregnancy, and change sexual behavior using a unique marketing, advertising, and merchandising campaign.”

One of their unique strategies is a fun website: camocondoms.org. Here, visitors can find games, cartoons, FAQs, links to resources and where to find help, and useful general information on STIs.

Mr. Horn says there is also potential for a blog to go along with the site, and has plans to include an online store to sell condoms and other Camo Condoms (CC) Brand merchandise. Merging his original business model with his current one, Mr. Horn says that the T-shirts and other CC Brand merchandise will have “humorous and flippant yet pointed phrases about the use of condoms to promote the safer sex message.”

Mr. Horn will also take Camo Condoms to college campuses, where he plans to distribute complimentary condoms to a few campus social organizations, such as fraternities and sororities.

If you’re interested in helping spread the word about Camo Condoms, contact Lauren Horn or show up to the next sporting event, and be prepared to chant “Camo up!”

Also part of the campaign is the catch phrase “CAMO UP!” which is to provide the same connotation as the phrase “wear a condom.” Mr. Horn plans to film a commercial with an army of Grinnell College students chanting this catch phrase at future Grinnell Athletic
event.

“The commercial idea was hatched when my wife and I were at the Midwest Conference Soccer Tournament at Loras College. A group of Grinnell students did the condom cheer and I was so impressed that I asked my daughter if she could film it to put on YouTube. We are also thinking we would like to have a contest on YouTube to develop a commercial for our products and campaign.” said Mr. Horn.

If you’re interested in helping spread the word about Camo Condoms, contact Lauren Horn or show up to the next sporting event, and be prepared to chant “Camo up!”

Correction:
The online story originally published stated that the online store is coming soon, rather it is already open and students can currently go and purchase merchandise. Further, the video that will be filmed is not necessarily a CAMO UP video, rather a general cheer for the support of the use of condoms.