Closer Look: Ads For Sex Products, A Double Standard?

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — Commercials for pharmaceuticals targeting men’s sexual dysfunction are seen frequently on TV. But the makers for a women’s product claim they are having difficulty buying ad time.

The makers of Zestra personal oil designed to increase female arousal, desire and satisfaction said even Facebook took their ads down after three weeks.

“We haven’t had much success with the networks at all, getting clearance. We have had a lot of struggles with cable stations. We have had problems with radio,” said Zestra’s Rachel Braun Scherl.

“We were advertising on SoapNet, the station. When we tried to get on SoapNet.com, the on-line version of that show, they said they weren’t comfortable with our content,” she said.

San Jose State professor and former adverting executive Tim Hendrick said he has not seen any data to support the idea of a “double standard” when it comes to male or female sexual enhancement products and ad buys.

“There are rules and regulations that the media or the agencies or the advertisers try to self-regulate themselves through,” says Hendrick. “The media does have the final say on whether it is responsible, whether it is accurate, and whether it is ethical.”

Zestra’s ads have appeared on CBS 5 in April, more than a half dozen times. The ads aired during daytime hours.

Previously, the Parents Television Council has raised strong objections to erectile dysfunction ads by Pfizer, Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmthKline.  The companies have since agreed to allow the group’s website to alert parents to the time and the show during which their specific ads will air.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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