Trojan ads ready for prime time: NBC

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Condom marketer Trojan is poised to breach the longstanding taboo against advertising its products on prime-time network TV with a health-oriented campaign next month-but so far only NBC has agreed to run it, and only after 10 p.m.

Church & Dwight CEO James Craigie told analysts last week the company is finishing copy testing of a serious-minded Trojan campaign aimed at prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. He said he believed the spot could run after 9 p.m., dialing back expectations from three months ago, when he told analysts the new copy would be appropriate for "all day parts."

Trojan and other condom brands, including Ansell Healthcare's LifeStyles and SSL Americas Durex have long run TV ads, but only in late-night time slots or on cable networks.


It's unclear whether Trojan's budget is truly ready for prime time-or at least big enough to entice many of the networks to endure the likely controversy. Although an NBC spokeswoman said it's taking the ads, CBS and Fox said they're still reviewing the Trojan ads and will run condom advertising "on a case-by-case basis," even though Church & Dwight began approaching networks at least three months ago. People familiar with the matter said ABC will not run the Trojan ads, though it was unclear whether the network rejected them or whether they were ever submitted.

A spokeswoman said Fox has limited inventory between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. and would not run condom ads during its biggest hit in the time slot, family-oriented "American Idol."

Trojan spent $6.5 million on measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence, though Mr. Craigie has said the brand will step up support significantly as part of an overall spending increase behind Church & Dwight brands.

A different route-podcasting-is being taken by the No. 2 condom brand, Durex. Last month, it launched a sponsorship of one of the biggest in an admittedly fledgling pool of regular podcasts via a brand-integration deal with "The Dawn and Drew Show" arranged by Interpublic Group of Cos.' Fitzgerald & Co., Atlanta. (For more, see QwikFIND aaq56n.)

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