No condom advertisements will be telecast on television between 6 am and 10 pm. An advisory from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry reasons they are “indecent especially for children” and promote “unhealthy practices” among them (Read about it here).
The government’s latest diktat follows a series of restrictive orders — right from what people should eat and wear to even matters marriage issues — the establishment found reason to get itself involved in these matters. The directive was in response to plea filed by Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) with the I&B ministry, requesting to take a call on such ads and their telecast timing.
Excerpts from the conversation:
Your views on the condom advertisement ban by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry from 6 am to 10 pm because children will see it.
I am not surprised by the ban. What is this hue and cry being made about it? I don’t understand it. We (the condom industry) was expecting the ban much earlier. Condom advertisements were banned in the first 40-50 years after Independence. Sex has been considered a sin in India. The government has monopolized the sector with Nirodh brand of condom. Anyways, condom companies were self-regulated about advertisements back then.
How do you think the ban will impact the industry?
If a ban was expected, how will you go about advertising for your product?
Most of the condoms are bought by the government which then distributes it free. We also supply the government. The industry size of condoms is 2 billion of which 1.4 billion is sold subsidised or distributed free by the government. The rest of us fight for our share in the remaining 600 million . There are three main players in India in this sector – Mankind which makes Manforce brand of condoms, Moods by Hindustan Latex and we are number 3 with Skore brand.
Sexual activity does not stop because of advertisements or ban on them. People have been having sex since Adam and Eve. Those who need a condom will go out and buy it. That’s all there is to it. Has booze consumption stopped because of a ban on advertising?
What is your view on condom advertisements being related to a moral issue? Is it a really a moral issue?
No. I don’t believe it is a moral issue. However, religious groups on the right side will deem anything connected to sex as moral issue. Sex is a natural part of life and condoms are important for the sexual well being of the country.