Monday, March 08, 2004

Family-safe ads

If the FCC is so concerned about cleaning up the airwaves, maybe it should start paying as much attention to the ads as it does to the programming. Radio commercials are bad enough -- there have been some spots for horror movies, crime-time TV shows and politicians that have been at least as disturbing to my daughter as Howard Stern would be -- but it's the TV commercials for pharmaceuticals that have really been making me squirm lately. People rant and rave about how MTV can show Britney Spears before bedtime, and networks impose five-second delays on award shows lest a celebrity use any of those words you can't say on television, but is anybody keeping track of the placement of ads for Viagra-type drugs amid shows kids might be watching?

I know they're not exactly showing them on Nickelodeon or anything, but my son loves the Food Network, and so apparently do lots of people with erectile dysfunction, and every time that Cialis ad plays with its warning about what to do if its product works too well, I wince in anticipation of the day when one of my kids is going to ask me what that's all about. Not to mention the ads for an antidepressant that have been on heavy rotation lately, in which a chirpy female voice mentions that there are "no sexual side effects," not once, not twice, but at least three times. I'm telling you, it would be far easier and more comfortable for me to explain to my kids what Janet Jackson's breast was doing outside her costume than it would be for me to explain what "sexual side effects" might be. Shouldn't promotion of this merchandise be restricted to programming after 11 p.m.? The target audience for this stuff is probably up late anyway.

No comments: