The Parents Television Council is calling on VH1 to give notice to companies before airing their advertisements in “run-of-schedule” slots during controversial or adult programming.
After contacting companies that sponsored the first four episodes of this season’s “Dating Naked” on VH1, the PTC received numerous verbal, written and/or email responses. Most of the responding companies told the PTC that VH1 had placed their ads into timeslots during the show without their knowledge or consent. Others mentioned that “Dating Naked” was on their restricted (do-not-buy) list, yet their ads still had appeared without authorization.
For example, a representative of Mondelēz International, wrote to the PTC, stating: “We have specific guidelines in place to help steward our media spend which should prevent our ads from appearing in this type of programming. Mondelēz International did not purchase this program specifically and has not previously aired ads on the program. In keeping with our policy, we have directed our media partner to ensure that we do not run advertising for any of our brands on this program in the future.”
“There are two reasons why VH1 would insert so many unauthorized ad spots into Dating Naked: The first is to burn off the lower-value ‘run-of-schedule’ media buys, albeit without notifying their clients ahead of time; the second is to create the public appearance that there is actual advertiser support for such baneful content. Both are a great disservice to the corporate sponsors, as evidenced by the consensus of the responses we’ve received thus far. Given this new insight, we urge VH1 to secure the approval of their advertisers before airing any spots in a ‘run-of-schedule’ ad avail during explicit or controversial programming like this one,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
“VH1 is struggling to justify keeping this program on the air, but for what reason? And at what cost? With tepid viewership levels and dreary advertiser support, it is time for the network to cancel this soft-core porn program which it irresponsibly markets to children.”