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Watch Dogs Warn FCC about Trojan Horse Ads


John Eggerton

Broadcasting & Cable

June 19, 2008

The Campaign For a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) wants the FCC to take steps to keep TV, including cable and satellite TV, from being a "Trojan horse" for embedded advertising.

The campaign has united a diverse group of children's activists, from Free Press to Parents Television Council, as well as health care professionals to address the issue.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin Thursday, the CCFC asked Martin to swiftly adopt rules that would make clear when consumers were being sold something, including directly addressing product integration. Martin has said previously that the FCC would conduct a proceeding on the issues of product placement and product integration.

Of particular concern to the CCFC, as it was to some key Democratic Congressmen in a letter to Martin on the subject last year, was anecdotal evidence from Everybody Loves Raymond creator/executive producer Phil Rosenthal, who told a Hill hearing audience last fall about a Seventh Heaven episode in which Oreos were repeatedly mentioned by name and even featured in a marriage proposal in which the ring was embedded in Oreo cream filling.

"We must not allow television programs to become Trojan horses, carrying messages that would otherwise be criticized by the public or even deemed illegal," CCFC wrote Martin. "Manufacturers of alcohol, tobacco, and junk food, as well as other industries, have all exploited the lack of regulation concerning product integration."

The FCC had initially teed up an item addressing product plugs for its Dec. 18 meeting, but it was deleted.




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