Taking the party out of party hats: The high price of condom warnings

Bruce Watson

One of the great joys of my life is marketing. To put it simply, I love watching companies desperately try to convince me that I can't live without this item or that item, that my entire life will be better if I use this product or that product.

Generally, marketers are pretty straight about their purpose: they want me to buy their product, and will make outrageous claims, pay for expensive celebrity endorsements, and spend a fortune on slick commercials in order to get my money. I, in return, generally ignore them, make my purchases based on price, tradition, and quality, and go on my merry way.

As much fun as it is to play this cat-and-mouse game, there's a time when even the savviest consumer has to acknowledge the value of truth in advertising. For me, that moment happened when I heard about the uproar over condom marketing. Here's how it played out: