Does This Ad Strike Too Close to Home?
The Fox and CBS networks have refused to run this ad. According to the New York Times article "Pigs with Cellphones, but no Condoms" (here) about the controversy, Fox rejected the spot because "Contraceptive advertising must stress health-related uses rather than the prevention of pregnancy." 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." Many commentators have pointed out the hypocrisy here given the often salacious nature of the programming and the ubiquitous ads for erectile dysfunction treatments that run on these networks.
Few commentators I've seen have had anything to say about the porcine content of these ads. Most have simply agreed that the campaign is funny and clever. Some bloggers have concurred with the presmise that most men are pigs, especially when young, in groups, and out drinking in bars trying to pick up women. I wonder, though, if it's the way this campaign makes the metaphor real that is ultimately creating people's discomfort. After all, it's one thing to say that men are pigs, but to show it with quasi-realistic animatronic animals perhaps mobilizes our fear and disgust about our kinship with non-human animals. As Erica Fudge notes in her wonderful book Animal (Reaktion, 2002), this kind of metaphorical use of the animal highlights the "failure of humanity" and can provoke a desire to wipe out this kinship through mastery, control, and domination. I guess we'll have to see if the sales of Trojan brand condoms rise as young people seek to bolster their human-ness.