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Monday, June 18, 2007

Network TV doesn't believe in evolution

Trojan, the condom company, has created a new advertisement- "Evolve" - that it's trying to get on TV. It's been accepted all over the cable-sphere, but all four major networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox) have balked at the commercial, which basically implies that people are sexier if they have a condom. The message is delivered by cellphone-toting pigs in a bar, who evolve into comely young men once they purchase a condom from the bathroom vending machine (see the ad here).

So why does this "use protection" message not pass the network censor?
A 2001 report about condom advertising by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation found that, “Some networks draw a strong line between messages about disease prevention — which may be allowed — and those about pregnancy prevention, which may be considered controversial for religious and moral reasons...”

In a written response to Trojan, though, Fox said that it had rejected the spot because, “Contraceptive advertising must stress health-related uses rather than the prevention of pregnancy.”
An interesting position to take from the network that brings us Desperate Housewives and other high-brow entertainment. And of course, FOX isn't alone:
Both the proportion of shows that contain sexual content and the number of sexual scenes within those shows have increased. All told, there are nearly twice as many scenes with sex today as there were seven years ago in the same sample of television programming. One in every nine shows across the TV landscape – excluding daily news- casts, sports events and children’s shows – includes scenes of sexual intercourse either depicted or strongly implied. (Kaiser Family Foundation study, 2005; emphasis mine)
I'd sum up this two-faced behavior, but the NY Times quotes someone who nails it:
“It’s so hypocritical for any network in this culture to go all puritanical on the subject of condom use when their programming is so salacious,” said Mark Crispin Miller, a media critic who teaches at New York University. “I mean, let’s get real here. Fox and CBS and all of them are in the business of nonstop soft porn, but God forbid we should use a condom in the pursuit of sexual pleasure.” (emphasis mine)

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