OUT DAMNED SPOT!
TV advertising’s been breaking barriers this year--first with condom commercials on local stations, now with real women showing off Playtex Cross Your Heart bras (formerly worn only over body suits or on mannequins) on the networks. Which got us to wondering what taboos are left.
Some of the forbidden fruit:
The three networks still won’t run spots for cigarettes, hard liquor, guns and fireworks, fortunetelling, dating services, contraceptives, sex magazines, abortion advocates and anti-law enforcement devices.
The networks still demand that toy ads carefully separate fantasy from reality, although ad agencies are pushing for greater freedom, hoping to sell toys the way they sell cereal. (Network toy ads, for instance, may not “dissolve” from one scene to the next because it could blur the line between reality and special effects for some children.)
Some agencies would like to see franker language replace euphemisms like “that special feeling” and “that time of the month” in feminine hygiene ads, according to Loretta Donato, a veep at Grey Advertising, the agency that created the Playtex bra ads in the U.S. (similar ads have been running in Canada and Europe for years).
One little-known taboo is imposed by ad agencies on themselves: deodorant actually being applied to armpits. One network’s guidelines are vague on the matter: “Application demonstrations will be presented in a restrained and inoffensive manner.”