PTC goes after Red Bull for supporting MTV


Parents Television Council is continuing its battle to get controversial MTV scripted offering “Skins” off the schedule, and it is doing so by going for the program’s wallet. It is also going after the wallets of the programs advertisers, and the latest target is Red Bull.

PTC is trying to spur its supporters to action, saying “If you object to Red Bull continuing to support Skins, make your feelings known!” And be sure to mention that when it comes time to decide which rink YOU want to “give wings” with your purchase, you’ll remember the kinds of shows Red Bull sponsors…and will vote with your wallet accordingly.”

The watchdog also went to the trouble of preparing the following click and send protest to Red Bull:

“Ads for Red Bull have appeared in recent airings of Skins on MTV. By now, you should be well aware of the problematic content in this series. Continued support for these dangerous messages is indefensible, especially in light of the New York Times’ report that ‘executives at the cable channel became concerned that some scenes from the provocative new show ‘Skins’ may violate federal child pornography statutes.’

“I am writing you today to ask you to reconsider your support of a program that glamorizes teen drug and alcohol use, and irresponsible sexual behavior.

“Without the advertising dollars of companies like yours, programs like Skins could not exist.

“The advertising industry is premised on the assumption that viewers will be influenced by what they see on television. That influence does not end once the commercial break is over, which is why your support of Skins is simply indefensible.

“It is my sincere hope that Red Bull will use its unique position as a sponsor to positively influence the content on Skins – or take your advertising dollars elsewhere, and instead support programs with content that supports, rather than undermines the values parents are trying to instill in their children.

“Failing that, your continued support for the content on Skins could only be viewed as an endorsement of the offensive messages on that program. As a consumer, I can not in good conscience support with my hard-earned money, a company that shares those values.”

RBR-TVBR observation: We do not generally support program protests that involve First Amendment turf. However, there is nothing in the Constitution saying you have to buy any particular product for any particular reason, and objecting to the actions of a business by refusing to do business with it is a completely fair tactic.

The question is this: Are the constituents of PTC avid enough users of Red Bull to affect its business calculations? Or does PTC at least have enough PR weight to make a dent in Red Bull’s business over its “Skins” advertising? It will be interesting to see how that calculus plays out – the ball is in Red Bull’s court.