Accuracy in Media

Call me a prude if you want but I have always had a problem with free condom distribution in public schools and elsewhere particularly when they were funded by tax dollars.

Now, New York City which distributes one million free condoms a month has decided that their program needs a little jazzing up so they will now release an official city condom “with unique packaging” in the next few months according to The New York Times. There were no design specifics mentioned in the story but the Times noted that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene which oversees the program consulted experts in marketing, advertising, brand and design to help guide them in their decision.

While the experts came up with a slew of ideas, it seems that their ideas of using New York landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State building or the Brooklyn Bridge to promote condom use is not exactly a very flattering image of the city. What the health department was hoping for was something catchy, yet tasteful and keeping within the constraints of politics and municipal decorum, whatever that is. Exactly how decorous can it be when you are talking about condoms?

As one might expect, there was no discussion of maybe using the packaging to mention or promote abstinence as an alternative to sex which is far more effective than promoting “safe sex.”

I am actually surprised that the health department didn’t consider licensing the condoms as the “Official Condom of New York City.” With Mayor Bloomberg’s endorsement, they could probably double the distribution. Wouldn’t that be great? The city would be rolling in dough from licensing fees. They could even lower taxes thanks to this new revenue stream. Oops, sorry I forgot I am talking about politicians being fiscally responsible. Why not have every city do this? Or how about colleges and universities who are always looking for more money? The USC Trojans comes to mind as a natural marketing play.

The expansion of this program to the aforementioned level may seem ludicrous, but in a politically correct world and with money seemingly more important than morals don’t be too surprised if this does come to pass.




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