30 Years Ago Tonight: The First Network TV ‘Condom Commercial’
On November 17, 1991, Fox Broadcasting Company became the first national broadcast television network to run a paid condom commercial. On Sunday, during the short-lived comedy "Herman's Head," FOX ran a 15-second spot for its Trojan Extra Strength brand.
You don’t remember that sitcom? It ran for three seasons with 72 episodes. In the show, Herman's thought processes are shown and dramatized by ‘voices in his head.’ Much like the Pixar movie “Inside Out.”
In the condom ad (which has vanished from the internet), an actor, portraying a 24-year-old, self-described "nice guy," looks into the camera and says: "I'm a nice guy and go out with nice girls. But these days, some pretty terrible things are happening to some really nice people.” A box of condoms is displayed as an announcer says, "Trojan latex condoms: To reduce the risk." a tagline placing the spot firmly within Fox's guidelines for accepting only disease-prevention condom pitches. (and not for being a contraceptive)
It was estimated that the commercial was seen by over seven million American households when it aired at 8:43 PM CT.
The advertisement aired just 10 days after Magic Johnson announced that he was HIV-positive.
This was the episode that the ad ran in:
However, 16 years earlier, in 1975, a condom commercial did air on TV stations, but only in California. It was not aired Network-wide, like FOX in 1991:
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