We've all seen them by now. Erectile Dysfunction ads. The dirty little secret is that the warnings telling men to get medical attention if they have a four hour erection after taking these drugs is more salesmanship than a warning. "Four hours? Really? Hmmmmmm."
The real point here is that these ads do not belong on TV while I'm watching the Giants, Yankees or Phil Mickelson chip golf balls with my son in the room, or my Mother for that matter. Networks like Fox and NBC say they don't run such ads on "family" programming like American Idol or before 9PM. But they make exceptions for News and Sports, which can carry the ads anytime. That's like saying, "I pay 100% of the taxes I owe...except when I don't." Or, how about, "I am a vegetarian, except I do eat pork once in a while."
Call me a prude, but there it is. While I am not alone in my opinion that these ads should be relegated to print, the Net and re-runs of Murder She Wrote and Columbo, I frankly thought I would have more company than I do. A Businessweek online poll shows 65% of respondents think these ads are innapropriate as they are currently running.
The House of Representatives recently passed a Broadcast Indecency Bill that raised the fines for indecent broadcasts from $32,000 to $500,000. But a provision that would have limited ED ads was stripped out before passage. Rep. James Moran (D-Va) sponsored the bill and says he would like to bring back the ED ad limit back to the floor for a separate vote. Good Luck. If the House didn't want it in the larger bill, it's doubtful that he could get it over in a separate piece of legislation. This Republican controlled Congress is hot and bothered about what liberal media organizations want to out out over the airwaves, but when it comes to stifling advertisers...no soap.