Frustrated Condom Maker Takes To Air Over New York Area Beaches
NEW YORK (AP) _ Look 3/8 Up in the sky 3/8 It’s a bird, it’s a plane ... it’s an ad for a product they wouldn’t let you hear about on radio and television.
A company that found its product unmentionable when it wanted to advertise on the public airwaves is taking its message to where speech is as free as the air - to the skies.
An estimated 4 million beachgoers around the New York area are expected to get the word beginning this weekend that Ramses condoms do the job they were designed for.
″There’s a problem in advertising condoms,″ said George Gori, an executive at the company that makes Ramses condoms, Schmid Products of Little Falls, N.J.
″We’re pretty much kept off television, radio, the main sources,″ he said. Men’s magazines are among the few publications that accept condom ads.
Beginning Saturday, planes operated by United Aerial Advertising of West Nyack will tug banners saying ″Plan Ahead With Ramses″ through the skies above area beaches.
The planes will fly twice daily for five weekends over beaches from Point Pleasant, N.J., north to New York and east over beaches stretching from Coney Island to Robert Moses State Park on the western tip of Fire Island.
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America thinks the advertising plan is a good one.
″It is a good idea to advertise contraceptive agents to the public as broadly as possible, and that’s what Schmid is doing,″ said Faye Wattleton, Planned Parenthood’s president. ″I think it’s sad they have to resort to this because other broad-based media outlets are closed to them.″
TV networks say they are worried about causing controversy, she said.
If company officials find an increase in sales in the New York area following the advertising, they will look for similar outlets elsewhere in the country, Gori said.
″We’re trying to be fairly serious about it,″ he said, acknowledging that ″the medium itself is a kind of off-the-wall thing.″ Schmid has been making condoms for more than 100 years, Gori said.
Garrett Friedman, president of United Aerial Advertising, said the product is the most unusual one he has dealt with in the 15 years he has been in business.
″George (Gori) asked me if we had any problem advertising for a prophylactic, and I said to George, ’As long as your message copy was in good taste and it wasn’t offensive, why not.‴
Neither Gori nor Friedman expect adverse community reaction to the advertising. Gori said he got no response following a test flight a week ago, and Friedman said he would withdraw the banner if he thought it was offensive.
Asked what he thought the sunbathers’ reaction to the banner would be, Friedman laughed. ″I don’t know - I imagine it will attract a great deal of attention,″ he said.
Gori said he thought the banner might generate interesting conversation.
″We’re all going to go out to the beach and listen,″ he said.