Where the rubber hits the air


Usually broadcasters find themselves defending the amount of sexual content on their programming against assaults from watchdog groups who find it all too racy and inappropriate. But not AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). This group finds it to be the height of hypocrisy that given the amount of racy content, two networks refused to run advertising for condoms.

At issue is a campaign from Trojan called "Evolve," which encourages condom use to in turn discourage the spread of STDs. AHF says the ad was accepted on ABC, NBC and at least nine cable networks, but CBS and Fox refused it. Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said, "On any given day or night, Viagra and other similar ads also run regularly on these networks – there seems to be no squeamishness about Fox and CBS airing shows or selling commercial time to promote sex. However, these networks now draw the line when Trojan tries to promote its condoms as a means toward safer sex-including the prevention of STDs and unwanted pregnancies. We strongly urge the advertising 'suits' at both of these networks to do what this ad encourages – 'evolve' – and reconsider their misguided ban on this commercial."

SmartMedia observation: Turning down a paid ad is of course not the best thing for business, so you can't fault the motives of CBS and Fox in trying to exercise their best judgment on what is appropriate for their airspace. However, we still believe it is almost always best to be erring in favor of airing. The fact that the ads are running elsewhere, and that other types of programming and commercial material can be compared to the rejected Trojan material simply makes the roadblocking networks look silly.