STUDY: Three of six major broadcasters allow condom ads - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

STUDY: Three of six major broadcasters allow condom ads


NEW YORK (AP) _ A decade after Fox ran the first condom advertisement on network television, a study has concluded that they aren't much more common on the air today.

CBS and NBC have since joined Fox in allowing condom ads, yet the policies are so restrictive that prophylactic manufacturers don't bother making many, said a report released Tuesday by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

ABC, the WB and UPN don't allow paid condom advertising, according to the health-oriented foundation.

``At first blush, it seems like an anomaly in this modern media age, when it seems to be no holds barred,'' said Victoria Rideout, a Kaiser vice president. ``It is surprising to see the hesitation there is in television about condom advertising.''

Both CBS and NBC changed their policies prohibiting condom ads after they began showing commercials for birth control pills following the relaxation of federal rules for prescription drug advertising.

A CBS executive told Kaiser that the network felt it couldn't justify turning down condom ads while accepting other contraceptive commercials.

Although Fox accepts condom ads, the network limits them to the 9-10 p.m. hour, and requires them to focus on disease protection instead of pregnancy prevention.

NBC only allows condom ads after 11 p.m. and requests that they not be ``overly erotic.'' CBS usually keeps the ads off until at least 9 p.m., the report said.

``Whether it is due to these restrictions, or for other financial reasons, the advertising budgets of condom companies have been so low that condom ads have been relatively rare even on those networks and affiliates willing to accept such ads,'' the report said.

Carter-Wallace spent $2.2 million advertising Trojan condoms in 1999 on cable TV _ where restrictions are looser _ and less than $500,000 on broadcast TV, Kaiser said. By contrast, Johnson & Johnson spent $33 million that year advertising its Ortho Tri-cyclen birth control pills.

Carter-Wallace produced 10 separate condom commercials over the past four years, ``which we have used extensively on cable television networks,'' said Richard Kline, group vice president of marketing at the company.

Condom ads still cause controversy, whether real or perceived. UPN accepted one Trojan ad in 1998 but more than half of its affiliates refused to air it, and UPN has banned them since.

ABC doesn't take condom ads but has run the Ortho Tri-cyclen commercials, Kaiser said. A network spokeswoman declined comment on the study.

A Fox executive told Kaiser that another problem with condom ads is that other advertisers don't want their commercials airing near them, further limiting the chances they will get on the air.

In a survey conducted by Kaiser this spring, 71 percent of Americans said they favored allowing condom ads on TV. About half of those people say the ads could run at any time; others say they should be restricted to late at night.

The survey found that while one-quarter of respondents oppose condoms ads on TV, one-third oppose beer advertising.

``This research indicates that long-held concerns at some networks about the impact of condom ads may be outdated,'' Rideout said.

Kaiser surveyed 1,142 adults randomly by telephone between April 16-22. The margin of error is 3 percent.

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