Condom TV ad rules relaxed as 'raciest commercial ever made' airs

LONDON - Government plans to allow condom ads to air before the 9pm watershed to help combat spiralling teenage pregnancy rates have coincided with the launch of an ad for Skyn condoms, described as possibly the "raciest commercial ever made".

The ad, created by AMP, Boston and directed by Eileen Doherty and Laura Murphy of the El Segundo-based creative production company Best Company Ever, is about to start airing on MTV after 8pm.

It begins with a shot of a dimly-lit hallway in which a young couple, leaving an apartment party, can barely keep their hands off each other.

The scene cuts to a parked SUV with a couple kissing passionately in the front seat, and then to a third couple on a bed in a messy bedroom with an open closet door partially obscuring the room.

The action unfolds with a series of quick cuts from each couple as clothing is removed and tension builds.

A female voice-over says: "It's like nothing now and like nothing ever before because it's like nothing at all. The Skyn revolution is here and safe sex will never feel the same way again."

The ad airs as proposals by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice will allow condoms to be advertised on all channels at any time. At present they are banned from advertising before the 9pm watershed except on Channel 4, where the cut-off is 7.30pm.

As well as relaxing the restrictions on condom ads, the Government plans to allow abortion clinics to advertise on TV and radio for the first time.

Pro-life groups have accused the advertising watchdog of showing bias against anti-abortion campaigners in proposing the changes, which they said would increase the number of abortions.

Britain has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe at 42 per 1,000 under-18s, as was recently highlighted with the case of Alfie Patten, who was thought to have become Britain's youngest dad at the age of 12.

Family campaigners have condemned the Government's plans claiming that TV ads for abortion clinics and condoms will inevitably lead to greater promiscuity among young people.

Dr Peter Saunders of the Christian Medical Fellowship told the Daily Mail: "The whole approach of the Government and officialdom creates an atmosphere where it is seen as acceptable for teenagers to indulge in recreational sex without regard to the very serious consequences in terms of physical and emotional health."