Following complaints from viewers, the commercial free-to-air broadcaster e.tv is allowed to broadcast condom adverts during its prime time soap, Scandal!, the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa has ruled.
Viewers complained to the ASA about Durex condom ads from Reckitt Benckiser South Africa shown during the local prime time soap with the Durex Real Feel commercial showing a man and woman touching and kissing each other while taking their clothes off and the voiceover "Now every touch can feel more real with Durex Real Feel, our first condom with the real feeling of skin on skin" and the words "Love sex" displayed on screen.
One viewer complained and said that Scandal! on e.tv has an age restriction of 13 years older and that condom ads shouldn't be shown during the timeslot when children are watching. The complainant said that the current South African legislation recognises the age of consent for sex as 16 years and older.
Another complainant raised similar issues.
This is the third time that e.tv viewers complained about condom commercials, following complaints in March 2012, and again in December 2016. In 2014 following viewer complaints about Lovers Plus condom ads on SABC3, the ad agency Joe Public SA agreed to move the condom ads later after the ASA ruled that it was shown during inappropriate timeslots.
In the latest case, e.tv told the ASA that the viewers' complaints undermine efforts to educate people about HIV prevention.
e.tv told the ASA that the Broadcasting Code permits e.tv to broadcast 13 years age restricted material before the watershed period and that the content and themes of Scandal! is in line with the commercial, and that in terms of the Children's Act of 2005 and the Sexual Offences Related Matters Amendment Act of 2007, adolescents above the age of 12 can have access to contraceptives and HIV testing without the need for parental approval.
Reckitt Benckiser South Africa argued that Scandal! on e.tv frequently deals with romantic affairs and the advertisement of this kind would be in line with the themes usually dealt with on the show. The ASA agreed.
"A parent who is allowing their child to watch Scandal! cannot then be outraged when the child is exposed to sexual content or references. It can be assumed that a child of over 13, who is allowed to watch content such as Scandal!, should have been exposed to appropriate sexual education to be able to understand the commercial before us," the ASA ruled.
"In addition, they should be watching in the company of an adult who is able to explain the content to them if they are confused or disturbed. The Directorate is satisfied that there is nothing in the commercial that would adversely affect a child of over 13."
"While true that the commercial promotes a product that is intimately related to sex, it does not do so in an uncouth or overtly sexual manner. The visuals used are not unlike images frequently seen on soapies or in fashion magazines, and is not 'explicit' as suggested by the complainants."