IN a commercial for Trojan condoms that has its premiere tonight, women in a bar are surrounded by anthropomorphized, cellphone-toting pigs. One shuffles to the men’s room, where, after procuring a condom from a vending machine, he is transformed into a head-turner in his 20s. When he returns to the bar, a fetching blond who had been indifferent now smiles at him invitingly.
[“The ‘Evolve’ ad does a nice job of being humorous, but it’s also a serious call to action,” Mr. Daniels said. “The pigs are a symbol of irresponsible sexual behavior, and are juxtaposed with the condom as a responsible symbol of respect for oneself and one’s partner.”]
... the commercial is entertaining. But it also has a message, spelled out at the end: “Evolve. Use a condom every time.”
“We have to change the perception that carrying a condom for women or men is a sign they’re on the prowl and just want to have sex” ... “It’s a sign of somebody being prepared — if the opportunity arises — to think about their own health and the health and safety of their partner.”
But the pigs did not fly at two of the four networks where Trojan tried to place the ad.
Fox and CBS both rejected the commercial. Both had accepted Trojan’s previous campaign, which urged condom use because of the possibility that a partner might be H.I.V.-positive, perhaps unknowingly. 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.” ...
“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.”
Kudos to The Times for reporting and running this story. Quixotic (if that is the right term--others may believe it is more conspiratorial) refusals by major media outlets (including The Times) to run publicly important but arguably controversial stories is an under-reported and under-discussed issue, and it's good to see it getting some attention. The photo helps, no doubt.