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When Pigs Fly In Raincoats


That's probably when certain silly, prissy-auntie American TV networks will run condom commercials that are anything but stern health warnings. Andrew Adam Newman writes in The New York Times:

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.

Directed by Phil Joanou (“State of Grace”), with special effects by the Stan Winston Studio (“Jurassic Park”), the commercial is entertaining. But it also has a message, spelled out at the end: “Evolve. Use a condom every time.”

...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.”

Representatives for both Fox and CBS confirmed that they had refused the ads, but declined to comment further.

In a written response to Trojan, though, Fox said that it had rejected the spot because, “Contraceptive advertising must stress health-related uses rather than the prevention of pregnancy.”

In its rejection, CBS wrote, “while we understand and appreciate the humor of this creative, we do not find it appropriate for our network even with late-night-only restrictions.”

“We always find it funny that you can use sex to sell jewelry and cars, but you can’t use sex to sell condoms,” said Carol Carrozza, vice president of marketing for Ansell Healthcare, which makes LifeStyles condoms. “When you’re marketing condoms, something even remotely suggestive gets an overly analytical eye when it’s going before networks’ review boards.”

Entertain me, and I might even pay attention. For example:

I know, I know, it isn't about condoms, exactly. But, this one is:

Not baaaaaa-aaad, huh?

Posted by aalkon at June 19, 2007 1:41 PM


So the logical but frightening conclusion is; if all STDs magically disappeared from the earth there are loads of people who would then want to forbid condoms. Or is it that the television stations are weaseling out before a loud minority? The hypocrisy when comparing condom ads to sex-sells ads is stunning. Women will jump all over your non-hot body if you use the right deodorant, but that condom you use when you've been jumped is only for disease prevention.

Posted by: ohwell at June 19, 2007 5:42 AM

Let's play the gender reversal game for just a second: Picture a nice-looking guy walking into a bar. He glances around and sees a woman with oozing sores on her face, another is surrounded by a gaggle of grubby toddlers; the others are variously dumpy, dowdy, frumpy etc. He is about to leave in disgust when he sees a condom machine and buys one. He turns around and suddenly the bar is filled with sultry vixen. (Howling feminists on line one.) You don't have to have a problem with condom use to think an ad might offend a significant part of your audience. Just sayin'.

Posted by: martin at June 19, 2007 7:17 AM

I wouldn't have a problem with that ad. Then again, I have a sense of humor, something people in both the men's and women's movements lack.

P.S. I actually think the pig is kind of sexy.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 19, 2007 7:45 AM

Actually, I think your ad sounds pretty hilarious. And I didn't watch the commercial with the pig -- got a link to it? PS Just post one link per comment or my blog software will eat your words. If you have to post two, comment twice.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 19, 2007 7:49 AM

It's odd that the media have such a problem with a condom commercial when they have no problem showing people in movies and sitcoms jumping into bed for consequence-free sex with (apparently) no attention given to birth control. Interestingly, they also appear to show a woman choosing to get an abortion anymore. Damned liberal media.

Posted by: justin case at June 19, 2007 8:39 AM

Whoops. That should have been "Interestingly, they also appear unable to show a woman choosing to get an abortion anymore.

Posted by: justin case at June 19, 2007 8:40 AM

What I don't understand is why the networks won't show condom ads but do show ads for b0ner drugs during prime time.

Call me old fashioned, but I'm not looking forward to answering my seven year olds questions about erectile dysfunction.

Posted by: Janet C at June 19, 2007 8:52 AM

I had a slap in the face the other day when I found one of the women in a commerical pretty hot, and the commercial was for lack of bladder control...

Posted by: eric at June 19, 2007 9:03 AM


Posted by: Crid at June 19, 2007 9:54 AM

Bladder control commercials must be one of the worst acting gigs (that actually pay the actors), just behind herpes ads and slightly ahead of erectile dysfunction commercials.

Posted by: justin case at June 19, 2007 10:01 AM

Speaking of role reversals in ads, has anyone seen the new Google ad, about the woman executive who had just slept with the mailroom boy? After googling for her underwear, why does she need go google her self-respect? If it was a male executive banging the hot receptionist, would he have to find his self-respect in the morning? It really made me angry.

Posted by: Chrissy at June 19, 2007 10:53 AM

I haven't seen Knocked Up yet. What reason does the woman give for NOT having an abortion?

Posted by: Chrissy at June 19, 2007 10:58 AM

I don't mind Viagra commercials, or other drug adds, but when either preparation H or personal hygiene products appear at dinner, I'm hurting. The condom add for guys wouldn't stir up much controversy except by the fringe group. I can't imagine most women (outside of the moral malarkey) would be offended at the add. If someone can explain why a feminist would find the role reversal ad offensive I'm listening.

Posted by: Vlad at June 19, 2007 11:09 AM

Here is a link to the ad

Posted by: martin at June 19, 2007 11:17 AM

Is it possible the ad was rejected because it mentions evolution?

Posted by: LYT at June 19, 2007 11:28 AM

Chrissy, in Knocked Up it is not really discussed. One of the guy's friends mentions it but is ignored. You really have to suspend your disbelief

Posted by: anon anon at June 19, 2007 12:03 PM

When they start marketing the female version of Viagra, how are they going to do it? Since the prissy pants think it's bad for women to want sex (makes her a slut, doncha know), what possible angle could they use? Market only to married women so they could fulfill their wifely duties?

Posted by: Chrissy at June 19, 2007 12:18 PM

anon anon, I guess we're just supposed to pretend the movie takes place in the 1950s, when abortion wasn't an option because it was almost impossible to get.
If she's an executive on the fast track, why would she get off now to have a kid with a non-alpha male? Even just as a sperm donor, I'm sure she would still want better genes for her kid.

Posted by: Chrissy at June 19, 2007 12:23 PM

They could have used the 'it goes against my religion' excuse in the movie. I've heard that is the popular excuse women use in their reasoning for being pregnant over a one night stand.

Posted by: Joe at June 19, 2007 12:54 PM

The female version of Viagra, you mean Avlimil. They are marketing it married women and it appears to be for precisely what chrissy claims "wifely duties"

Posted by: Vlad at June 19, 2007 1:17 PM

I'm pro-choice, but still bothered by the idea that one needs an "excuse" not to get an abortion. Being pro-choice, believing a woman is in control of her body, means whatever choice she makes is hers, no excuse needed.

I'm not part of a religion that condemns abortion, but have always known it wasn't a choice I, personally, could make. I don't see why I would need to "excuse" that choice to anyone. Admittedly, if I had ever gotten pregnant and my partner wanted no part of it, I was prepared to have him sign over custody and support the baby alone.

Posted by: Kimberly at June 19, 2007 1:21 PM

I like the European commercial (also a condom ad) where the guy is shopping in a grocery store with an absolutely miserable brat for a kid. The little monster is screeching his damn fool head off, whining about wanting sweet cereal, and finally throws himself on the floor in a full-scale tantrum. You don't know it's a condom ad until the very end. I always assumed it wouldn't make the markets in the USA because they don't like to see children portrayed as anything but GIFTS FROM GAWWWWWD around here.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at June 19, 2007 1:25 PM

You mean this ad, Pirate Jo?

Posted by: Joe at June 19, 2007 1:35 PM

Yep, that's the one! And so timely, too. Someone just posted the following Quote of the Day over on's Hit & Run blog, which still has me laughing:

"Do you ever think of turning off the TV, sitting down with your kids, and hitting them?"

Posted by: Pirate Jo at June 19, 2007 1:57 PM

That European condom commercial should replace the Pledge of Allegiance in junior/senior high schools every morning... though it would probably give the teachers PTSD...

Posted by: eric at June 19, 2007 2:39 PM

This one has been a favorite of mine for years. I'm guessing it didn't make it here.

Posted by: Shawn at June 19, 2007 10:00 PM

More time wasting here:

Posted by: Shawn at June 19, 2007 10:02 PM

Oops. I'm so embarrassed flash wasn't working when I posted.

Posted by: Shawn at June 19, 2007 10:16 PM

I've posted this one yesterday, but I must have done something wrong, because somehow I didn't come through. Anyway, here it is again for the first time:

A long time ago the German ministry of health created TV commercials for the use of condoms as a protection against AIDS. I liked this one very much:

It's not very "lip sync" on Youtube, I'm afraid, but at least it's subtitled, so you don't have to learn German. (The TV stations broadcasted these commercials for free, by the way.) Enjoy!

Posted by: Rainer at June 20, 2007 12:59 PM

Lets see-- men depicted as pigs, in their normal state, actual pigs who become non-porcine when they assume control of contraception.Then the young lady-- human , of course( can you imagine if women were depicted as lower animals what an outcry there would be ?)-- happily welcomes the man from pigdom when he takes unilateral responsibilty for safe sex. All the other men remain pigs-- men in their natural state, no doubt.
It is difficult to imagine a more inherently degrading and demeaning ad than this and I am amazed that anyone could not find it so.
Pigs-- however unfairly-- are associated with filth and uncleanliness. That evokes the powerful visceral emotion of "disgust" which drives immediate moral reactions like contempt and revulsion and then avoidance. "Filthy pig" is a terrible insult...
And an animal associated with filth, the worst of epithets , and with the powerful emotion of disgust-- represents the normal male patrons of a bar.?
Degradation and dehumanization of other groups is typically accomplished by associating them with filth-- see the Nazis ( Hitler was a master manipulator of disgust) and the Jews ( racial hygiene laws), Jim Crow and blacks ( separate restrooms, drinking, traveling,sleeping quarters etc.0. The Nazis did it to effect genocide, the Klan, to perpetuate Jim Crow.
Depicting normal males as filthy , disgusting animals is inherently dehumanizing and the ad relies on the acceptance of that dehumanization, as the pig becomes a man when he purchases their product.
That this ad ever appeared means that is acceptable in our society to represent normal men as filthy and disgusting animals. The misandric clarion call of feminism and all-to-many-women--" Men are Pigs"-- has now been so absorbed into our culture that ads for contraceptions actually use pigs to represent men and no one apparently raises a voice to object. Men are the only remaining group in our society who can be viciously dehumanized and degraded with no one voicing objections.
. Some creative fellow might try thought experiments using race or sexual orientation, where blacks or gays are disgusting animals in their normal state but become human when they act responsibly ...
See--On Disgust--Kolnai, The Anatomy of Disgust--Miller, Disgust-- Theory and History of a Strong Sensation by Menninghaus... Articles by J Haidt and colleagues, Rozen et al

"Disgust, the other-condemning emotion...evolved from a system for avoiding biological contaminants like disease and spoilage. It may have been recruited to demarcate the moral circle that divides entities that we engage morally (such as peers) from those... we actively avoid... One of the haunting questions of the 20th century is how so many ordinary people commited wartime atrocities. The philosopher Jonathan Glover has documented that a common denominator is degradation: a diminution of the victim's status or cleanliness or both. When someone strips a person of dignity by... giving him a humiliating appearance... or forcing him to live in filthy conditions, ordinary people's compassion can evaporate and they find it easy to treat him like an animal or an object."--- Steven Pinker-- The Blank Slate-P 272,273,274.

The history of associating human beings with filth and humiliation-- here as actual filthy animals-- is that of genocide and the systemic violation of human rights. No person-- not even men-- should ever be associated with filth or filthy animals.Its morally reprehensible and its indefensible..

Posted by: jedwards at June 28, 2007 11:01 PM

However-- I like pigs a lot. They are very intelligent. You can train them to do a lot of things. They are real cute when they are little . But they are associated with filth because , having no sweat glands-- they have to roll about in the mud to stay cool. Hence the Jewish dietary proscriptions based on the pig as a 'filthy animal'.
The two networks did not turn the ad down because it was offensive-- but because of some apparent policy on contraception advertising .
This ad was the subject of a debate on FOX on Cavuto a few days ago.

Posted by: jedwards at June 28, 2007 11:15 PM

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