Sex on a Plane: MTV Runs Ad Showering Airline Passengers with Condoms

Planned Parenthood Golden Gate (PPGG) has unveiled what it calls an “edgy” TV and radio campaign that “focuses on the importance of practicing pregnancy prevention and safer sex.”

Except that the words “pregnancy” and “safe sex” are never spoken.  And the pitch man in the “Mile High campaign” is flamingly gay. The TV ad is being run locally on MTV, VH-1, Comedy Central and TLC, and the radio ad is running on KMEL-FM, a San Francisco station.

Here is the text of the commercial: (click here to see the video)

Scene: Interior of a plane's cabin.

STEVEN, The obviously gay flight attendant, who coos:  Hello and welcome aboard. I'm Steven.  (He prances down the aisle of the plane.) Oooohhhh. All right!  We've reached our cruising altitude of One Mile High!

(passengers cheer)

Cut to: Steven comes up to a man-woman couple sitting together. The young woman is licking a large, heart-shaped lollipop.

STEVEN: Hey guys.  Just want to make sure you've got the pill, patch, condoms.  It's all about choices.  Have some more! BAM! (An overhead compartment opens spilling condoms over the couple.)

GRAPHIC on screen: The Friendly Skies Just Got SAFER.

Cut to wide shot of exterior of plane flying.

Cut to cockpit.  Steven sits in pilot's lap and puts his arm around him.

STEVEN: On behalf of Planned Parenthood airlines, you are now free to make sweet, sweet love.

Steven smiles leeringly at pilot, who smiles back at him.

The ad, according to a PPGG press release, is targeted at “young adults, ages 18-24” and seeks to draw “viewers and listeners with lively characters that provide pregnancy prevention and safer sex education in a fun and entertaining way.”  The release continues, “PPGG created this campaign to stress the importance of sexual health in a creative way that breaks free from the old ineffective paradigm of relying on fear-mongering tactics to inspire behavior changes.”  The release describes Steven as a “flashy flight attendant that also plays the role of sexual health educator.”

Ummmm. This viewer didn't see any “health education” going on.

In fact, one wonders if the writer of the press release actually saw the edited commercial.  The press release says, “Throughout the ads, condoms and other birth control methods are mentioned as effective tools for preventing the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancies.”  Actually in this ad, condoms, patches and pills are merely presented as “choices” for making “sweet, sweet love.”  Further, patches and pills don't protect against STIs, and condoms are ineffective against several STIs, including Human Papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer.

According to PPGG's 2006 tax return, $12.2 million of its $22.1 million budget comes from taxpayers through government agencies, according to Life Site News. Nationally, Planned Parenthood Federation of America receives more than $300 million annually in taxpayer money, according to National Right to Life.

It is not the first “edgy” ad from the San Francisco PP chapter. 

Life Site News reported that in early 2007, “PPGG made a commercial that showed a sloppy-looking male angel eating popcorn at the head of the bed watching a couple having sex. Then his female angel counterpart appeared imploring him to do something. The male angel uses a TV remote and rewinds the scene of the couple in bed. This time the woman asks her male partner if he has any protection, to which he exclaims, 'Yeah, of course.' The woman responds, 'Amen!'

In 2006, PPGG produced a spot depicting a young woman working with power tools who later hops into bed with a man, selects items from a Planned Parenthood 'safe sex' tool case and exclaims, 'Nice tool!'”

Such “edgy” messaging from Planned Parenthood serves only to make sex itself appealing to teens.  While the organization may claim that its target audience is 18-24- year-olds, placing the ad on networks like MTV guarantees it will reach much younger viewers.  MTV's target demographic is 12-34 year olds.

Further, the flat-out promotion of the “mile high” club connotation, “sweet, sweet love” and the wink-and-nod to homosexuality does nothing to educate. It only titillates and feeds in to the continuing efforts of Planned Parenthood and its media accomplices to sexualize children any way they can.

The Mile High campaign is scheduled to run through February.

Kristen Fyfe is the senior writer for the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.