1987 isn’t a year many think of as the start of a revolution.
But when Davin Wedel, then a sophomore at Tufts University in Boston, heard Surgeon General C. Everett Koop announce that condoms prevented the spread of HIV, he decided to join the fight. At that time, it was becoming increasingly clear that the spread of AIDS was a major public health emergency, and Koop publicly advocated the promotion of condoms to prevent the disease. This was a major step forward for AIDS awareness, but a big problem remained. Condoms were unpopular, embarrassing to buy, and stigmatized by social taboos. Clearly, condoms had an image problem.
In response, Davin and a classmate launched a project to awaken their campus to sexual safety with the "Happy Jumbo," a condom matchbook featuring the Tufts mascot, Jumbo the Elephant, and the slogan "A Safe Jumbo is a Happy Jumbo." The duo realized that connecting condoms with familiar and popular images made the condoms cool. They soon expanded their efforts off-campus, and in 1988, Global Protection Corp. was born. The company committed itself to making condoms an acceptable part of everyday life and did so through a series of groundbreaking firsts.
With Davin still at the helm as its Founder and President, Global Protection Corp. has been making history – and making a difference – ever since. Over the past 30 years, the company has adapted and grown to be a respected innovator, trusted manufacturer, worldwide distributor, and public health champion.
Global Protection Corp. invented the first innovative and fun condom products, including glow-in-the-dark condoms and condom Smiley Pops. The company convinced gift and convenience stores to stock these items on their retail shelves, and for the first time ever, condoms were out from behind the counter and onto the main sales floor. The stigma was beginning to lift.
Global Protection Corp. also created Custom Condoms©, a promotional product line, allowing organizations to print their logos and messages on a variety of condom packages. Companies used clever slogans like "Stay virus-free with Computers 2000" to promote themselves, while reinforcing the message of sexual health. Global Protection’s Custom Condoms made it possible for anyone – from radio stations to trucking companies – to help promote safer sex.
The company was also actively communicating its ideas about condom promotion and safer sex education to the public. Health educators used Global Protection Corp.’s innovative condoms as icebreakers to help their clients relax and get them talking about condoms and sexual responsibility. Today, Global Protection Corp.’s products are used by health educators everywhere and are considered essential educational tools.
By 1992, condoms were becoming more commonplace and more accepted by mainstream society. But Global Protection Corp. was ready to push new limits once again when it opened Condomania®, the first store to sell nothing but condoms. The launch garnered national and international media coverage and helped Global Protection Corp. further propel the national discourse about condoms and safer sex.
In 2004, Global Protection Corp. launched its signature ONE® brand, which quickly emerged as an industry leader in premium condoms and lubricants. ONE brings a fresh perspective to sexual health through a fusion of creative product packaging, manufacturing technology, customer engagement, and social responsibility. The brand connects customers, artists, advocates, and health organizations to inspire and mobilize individuals and communities.
The ONE brand is embodied by cutting-edge initiatives such as Lust for Life, a national HIV prevention campaign focused on urban centers, driven by a coalition of visual artists, musicians, celebrities, and public health agencies. ONE also launched a line of condoms with wrappers featuring the internationally renowned work of Tom of Finland, who introduced condoms to his drawings at the height of the AIDS crisis to promote safer sex among gay men.
The company marked another major milestone in 2015, when Karex Berhad – the world’s largest condom manufacturer and a trusted partner for over 20 years – purchased a stake in Global Protection in order to expand the ONE brand around the globe.
On the eve of its 30th anniversary, Global Protection once again pioneered a product line that took the condom industry by storm. In 2017, Global Protection brought myONE® Perfect Fit Condoms to the North American market. With 60 condom sizes larger and smaller than anything on the market, myONE was designed to address the top complaints about condoms: they’re uncomfortable and don’t fit. The New York Times heralded the myONE breakthrough in a front-page Health section story.
Much has changed since the flight of the first Jumbo. Global Protection Corp.'s products have helped shape the way condoms are viewed in our culture, demonstrating that private companies can help advance public goals. This unwavering approach – combining popular culture imagery, social marketing, high-quality products, and educational tools – remains the foundation of Global Protection Corp. today.