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Monday, July 16, 2007

Condom ads stir an unfortunate controversy

Trojan, the condom manufacturer, recently released an ad campaign on tv, print, and the web advocating for sexual health...As long as you buy Trojan condoms - :). But seriously, it's a great campaign, and frankly overdue. Without further editorializing, here's the tv ad.

Funny, right? Well, as one would expect in this moralistic country, we've actually got a controversy. From the New York Times article that ran this morning:

Controversy over a new advertising campaign by Trojan, the condom maker, has trickled down to the local level, with television stations in Pittsburgh roundly refusing to show it, and stations in Seattle giving it the green light.

When Trojan introduced the condom commercial last month, it was rejected as national advertising by both CBS and Fox. Fox said it objected to the message that condoms can prevent pregnancy, while CBS said it was not “appropriate,” drawing a firestorm of criticism from public health advocates and bloggers.

Critics of the CBS and Fox decision point to the networks' hypocrisy: they use sex to up ratings on television programs, but won't allow advertising to be equally candid. Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood has a great quote within the article. You can also sign their, um, unfortunately titled, petition here.

“Next year, it’s estimated that four million people in this country will get a sexually transmitted infection,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, in a telephone interview. “The fact that Fox and CBS want to sell sex on TV and yet they don’t want to run ads about prevention is disgraceful.”

The best quote, though, goes to Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Here it is...

“These networks are celebrating a free sexual lifestyle in their programming, but refusing to talk about it in their advertising,” said Michael Weinstein, the president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “The big problem in this country is we’re hedonistic in our behavior and moralistic in our attitudes [emphasis mine]. We don’t have an open discussion about our sexuality, and the price of not being open is millions of sexually transmitted infections.”

We're willing to tolerate overt and occasionally outrageous sexuality on our television programs, but G-d forbid we'd talk openly about the consequences of that behavior. This controversy crystallizes for me the necessity of sexual literacy to help people discover how to have a safe, emotionally healthy, and pleasurable sexual life.


  • Absolutely!!! Well said in every respect. I teach high school Health Science including the Sex Ed unit -- kids can rattle off the details of all the sex scenes in shows like "Friends" and soap operas and nighttime interludes from "Grey's Anatomy" -- and they all recall the orgasmic shampoo commercials that ran a few years back -- but No No, we can't address any of this directly, can we? Conservatives need to get real and get off their high horse.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jul 17, 06:31:00 PM PDT  

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