Parents Television Council doesn’t only watch TV program content, it also keeps score of which advertisers are sponsoring which shows. PTC’s Tim Winter went to a Wal-Mart shareholders meeting and thanked it for promoting family content and avoiding content PTC finds not so family-friendly.
Winter just came right out and said it: “Mr. Chairman, simply put, there is no corporation in America better than Wal-Mart when it comes to supporting family TV programming and avoiding explicit and harmful TV programming.
Winter said promoting family-friendly programming is good for children and added, “But Wal-Mart’s extraordinary media-buying policy – and its execution of that policy – isn’t just good for families; it’s also good for Wal-Mart’s bottom line. Research from both the University of Michigan and Ohio State shows that viewers are up to 30% less likely to remember a television advertisement if aired within violent or sexually-explicit programs. And when do Michigan and Ohio State agree on anything!”
Winter praised an initiative between Wal-Mart and Procter & Gamble to produce original programming for a family audience, and concluded, “For these reasons, Mr. Chairman, it was urgently important for me to come here today and recognize this company, and to thank you, for such extraordinary leadership. On behalf of our 1.3 million members – and indeed on behalf of millions of families across our nation – I thank you, sir.”
RBR-TVBR observation: This is an example of a fine American tradition. In a nation where one of the most hallowed rights is freedom of speech, there is only so much you can do to influence that of somebody else. You can’t just tell them to cut it out.
But you can hit them where it hurts – in the wallet – or conversely, help to fill that wallet when they are doing something you like.
If Wal-Mart hates a given show, we have a problem when they try to stifle the content directly. We have no problem whatsoever with PTC’s efforts to punish a sponsor by not buying from it.
If an advertiser really wants PTC members to buy its wares, it can advertise accordingly. If it is unconcerned about PTC’s opinion, it can ignore PTC. If the creative community wants to play close to the edge, it may, with the risk that nobody wants to play along and sponsor edgy fare. It’s the give and take of democracy, where all parties are as free as possible.