Soap kisses off ad coin

BOGOTA — When Colombia’s Producciones Jes filmed its May 8 episode of its new soap “Perfume de Agonia” (Scent of Agony), they knew it would raise some eyebrows.

The climax of the episode comes when Elvira, one of a band who has kidnapped the unfortunate Helena, plants a passionate kiss on the heroine’s unwilling lips. It was the first Colombian soap opera to feature any kind of homosexual contact between women.

“We wanted to feature lesbianism to make people understand that these things do exist in reality,” a spokesman at Jes said. “We didn’t expect such a fuss.”

The kiss proved a costly one for Jes. This week one of the program’s advertisers — local toiletries company Inextra — canceled a $5,000 per-month contract, Jes marketing manager Arnoldo Rodriguez said.

Inextra officials were unavailable for comment.

Inextra is a subsid of U.S. conglom Proctor & Gamble, which pulled its advertising from the U.S. show “Ellen” prior to an episode in which the star confides her homosexual feelings. The morality play came at cost to Inextra. “Perfume’s” rating, which at around 21 points was lagging in the Colombian soap sweep, immediately climbed a notch, to 24.5.

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