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'Sleazy' ad irks Parents Television Council


Allie Martin

April 29, 2008


The Parents Television Council is asking the CW Network to tone down an ad campaign for a show that targets teen viewers.

The CW Network's ad campaign for the drama Gossip Girl features a teen text message which includes a well-known curse word and also uses God's name in a blasphemous way. Melissa Henson, with the Parents Television Council, says the CW Network should be more responsible. "It's really deplorable that they are using such sleazy tactics to attract young audiences and that they are targeting this particular ad campaign at teenagers," Henson contends.

According to Henson, Gossip Girl glamorizes casual sex and drug use. Even though it is the most-watched show on the network among teen girls, Henson says the CW Network has had a tough time attracting a loyal following to the show.

"I believe that they've had a hard time finding their niche, and I think they've been floundering for a while now with the ratings. They haven't been very successful. My understanding is that the network is trying to remake itself or to find a niche -- and that niche that they are pursuing is young viewers, particularly teenage girls. [T]hey're doing that with more shows that they have planned for next year, more shows like Gossip Girl," Henson points out.

According to a CNN news report, Rick Haskins, VP of marketing at CW, disagrees with accusations that the ad is "raunchy" and "borderline pornography." He says the ad is meant for older viewers, even though the advertisements are in public and plain view.

However, Henson believes the CW is "using nothing but sex to sell this program." She says the show is undermining the positive values parents are trying to instill in their children.


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