Condom ads expose us: Americans are prudes, Germans unrestrained

In a recent series of print ads, Germany's Doc Morris Pharmacies have used images of Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, and Osama Bin Laden to suggest that safe sex can help protect against the conception of a potential dictator or mass murderer. The campaign is designed to inspire terror but seems to be evoking anger, particularly in China, where Mao is still revered.

Of course, as an American blogger, it's somewhat difficult to comment on German prophylactic commercials. Condom ads in the U.S. have always been a bumpy road: as a recent Trojan condom commercial demonstrates, it's hard for American condom producers to present sex in a non-smirking manner. The company's "Stimulus Package" which can help us "ride out" these "hard times" has all the subtlety of a mack truck. Trojan's recent ad campaign, however, is a significant improvement over the first condom ads on television. In the early 1990s, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ran a commercial featuring a man putting on a pair of socks while a narrator muttered "If you could save your life by something as easy as putting on a sock, wouldn't you do it?" Even sex educators found the ad confusing; personally, I thought that it might be a warning against catching colds in drafty houses.