May 31, 2005
Following reports that specialty products maker Church and Dwight wants to place ads for its Trojan brand condoms on network television, the American Family Association (AFA) launched a mass e-mail campaign and is now pressuring members of Congress to keep the ads from airing.
"Condoms are the line in the sand," said AFA's Randy Sharp. "We oppose condom ads because they promote promiscuity."
Some TV networks, especially cable, run condom ads but limit their airing to late-night time slots. Condom ads often appear in magazines, including those targeting young adults.
Family planning advocates say such ads can help lower teen pregnancy rates and check the spread of STDs. "The more we can normalize conversations about healthy sexuality and safer sex, the better off we are as a society," said Michael McGee, vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
And while decency standards should be met, said McGee, it would be wrong to limit condom advertising to only a public health-style message. "If they can use sexy images to sell sneakers and soft drinks, it certainly makes sense for them to use that when they are selling condoms," he added.
An NBC spokesperson said the network is considering Church and Dwight's request but she stressed that the proposed campaign focuses on the health benefits of using condoms and does not resort to titillation. CBS said it does not have a policy on condom ads, and any such spots are considered on an individual basis. Fox declined to comment, and ABC could not be reached for comment.