Sex Sells! Many advertising companies have demonstrated it does. But, does safe sex sell? If you"re channel surfing during prime time, on network television, you may see a group of 20" something women discussing their life long friendship and their similar choice in oral birth control. Also, a woman lovingly speaks of her husband's decision to use Viagra for the sake of their relationship. What are you least likely to see? Probably a commercial for condoms. If I had to identify exactly what makes condoms controversial in this country, I believe it is the fact that they are worn on an erect penis. Anytime you introduce the penis, especially an erect one, sex is implied. The condom is guilty by association.
Networks have been slow to respond to the increasing public acceptance of condom ads for the fear of arousing opposition from conservative groups. Network executives cite concerns that some viewers believe condoms encourage promiscuity or may be uncomfortable with the idea of condom advertisements within the privacy of their homes. However, a June 2001 Kaiser Family Foundation study revealed that Americans might be more open to condom advertisements than the networks believe. The survey found that a whopping 71-percent of Americans favor allowing condom advertisements on television; 37-percent say the ads should be allowed to air at anytime; the other 34-percent say they should only show them during a specific time period; and 25-percent said condom advertisements should not be allowed to air at all. Interestingly, more people opposed beer ads on television, 34-percent, than condom ads.
Throughout the 1960's and 1970's the National Association of Broadcasters" (NAB) code of conduct prohibited condom advertising out right. A San Jose, California television station, violated the prohibition with a Trojan condom commercial in 1975, but discontinued the advertisement soon there after.