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The Controversy Over Trojan Condom Ad

Trojan
Trojan

So, there's this new Trojan TV commercial premiering Monday. It shows a bar filled with hot women and big fat pigs (www.trojanevolve.com). The hot women reject the men, disgusted, until one of the guys goes to the bathroom and buys a condom. He emerges as a hot guy, and the girl at the bar is thrilled to talk to him.

ABC and NBC will run the ad, but CBS and FOX will not. They object to the fact that it's discussing condoms in reference to sex, not in terms of HIV protection, like the previous Trojan commercials they've aired. Fox wrote to Trojan saying "Contraceptive advertising must stress health related uses rather than the prevention of pregnancy." CBS released a statement saying that even with late-night restrictions "we do not find it appropriate for our network.

But CBS and FOX have no problem airing suggestive Viagra and Cialis ads, and they've both been called out for inappropriate content. Of course there was Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction on CBS during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, and CBS was also fined $3.6 million for a teen sex orgy seen in crime drama "Without a Trace." And Fox's "House" talks an awful lot about sex, as does the animated "The Family Guy."

Still CBS and Fox have no problem getting their message heard-- Trojan says it's spending more on this campaign than any previous one- running ads on ABC, NBC, MTV, Comedy Central, and seven other Cable Networks -- with print ads in 11 magazines and on 7 Web sites, plus the campaigns own site.

The condom market is worth some $400 million plus dollars--but Fox and CBS clearly think it's worth losing out on those dollars, rather than risk offending others.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.