Following the refusals of FOX and CBS networks to air a new advertisement for Trojan condoms, both local stations and national organizations are taking positions on the ad spot. Recently, local ABC and NBC affiliates in Pittsburgh announced that they would not run the ad despite the national networks’ decision to air it. Meanwhile, other affiliates in Seattle announced that they would run the ad, which features a bar full of women and pigs, one of whom metamorphoses into a human after buying a condom from a vending machine. With little mention of the Trojan brand itself, the ad concludes with the slogan, “Evolve. Use a condom every time.”
According to the New York Times, CBS called the ad not “appropriate,” and FOX objected to the promotion of condoms to prevent pregnancy and the ad’s alleged lack of public health issues. In a statement, FOX said that “contraceptive advertising must stress health-related uses rather than the prevention of pregnancy,” even though “contraceptive” by definition means the “prevention of pregnancy.”
Several organizations, including Planned Parenthood and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), have reacted with outrage to the networks’ hypocrisy, particularly given FOX shows “Temptation Island” and “The O.C.,” CBS’ annual broadcast of the Victoria Secret’s fashion show, and both networks’ frequent airing of advertisements for erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra and herpes medications — all programming that acknowledges and even promotes sex.
“The rejection of this condom ad by both CBS and FOX is the height of hypocrisy given the amount of sex each of these networks peddles in their entertainment program lineups,” AHF President Michael Weinstein said in a statement. “These networks now draw the line when Trojan tries to promote its condoms as means toward safer sex — including the prevention of STDs and unwanted pregnancies.” AHF Director of Prevention Whitney Engeran added, “Preventing an unintended pregnancy is as much of a public health issue as preventing the transmission of a sexually transmitted disease, and to imply otherwise is simply wrong — are they telling us with this ban they don’t want to protect women’s health?”