Monday, July 03, 2000

P&G yanks some MTV ads

Company denies pressure

The Associated Press

        COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.— Procter & Gamble Co., the world's second-largest advertiser, will no longer run advertisements on two racy series on MTV.

        MTV's The Tom Green Show and Undressed were already on a list of programs on which Cincinnati-based P&G would not advertise, P&G spokeswoman Gretchen Briscoe told the Colorado Springs Gazette for Sunday's edition. She said the company's commercials aired during those programs by mistake.

        Her comments come three weeks after P&G officials met with Christian leader James Dobson, who tried to persuade the executives to reverse a decision to pull advertising from the television talk show Dr. Laura.

        Dr. Laura Schlessinger has said that homosexuality is “deviant” and a “biological error.”

        Ms. Briscoe said pressure by Mr. Dobson's Focus on the Family ministry had no bearing on the decision to pull the ads.

        “They merely brought those spots to our attention and we cleared up mistakes that were made,” Ms. Briscoe said.

        P&G officials could not be reached Sunday for additional comment.

        The consumer goods giant's advertising strategy is watched closely. In addition to spending hundreds of millions annually, it has a reputation as one of the most innovative advertisers in the world. Last year, Advertising Age, a leading trade journal, found P&G's precedent-setting strategies so influential that it named the company “Marketer of the Century,” ahead of No. 2 McDonald's.

        At a June 12 meeting, Focus officials showed company executives clips from the two MTV shows, which featured sexual references and a lesbian love scene, as well as an episode of NBC's Law & Order that featured a negative portrayal of evangelicals who try to convert gays to be straight.

        “We were just asking them to be consistent,” said Mike Haley, a Focus official. “If they don't want to advertise on controversial shows, they shouldn't be advertising on these.


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