When Real Life Imitates Advertising

According to this Ad Age report, the entertainment industry isn’t doing enough to combat indecent programming on TV and government limits may be the answer.

“My impression is the cable industry is compliant in promoting sexually explicit content and pornography in the home,” said Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark. “What you are doing may be legal, but it may not be best for the country and it may not be right.” He added: “I have an 11-year-old boy and my wife and I are scared to death to turn on TV because of what he might see on cable.”

Super Bowl viewers will recall GoDaddy’s memorable spoof of these type of government proceedings from last February.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Thanks for bringing this up … you know, I don’t usually editorialize on my “Much Ado About Marketing” blog, but in this particular case, I did:

      “It seems everyone likes to play the “blame the media” game on matters such as this. Of course, that’s easy, since “the media” is an ill-defined, faceless culprit incapable of defending itself. But that sword cuts both ways. No one to defend the media means there’s no one to hold accountable, either – and Senator Stevens had to admit to some frustration when it came time to discuss possible solutions.

      Of course, that’s because it’s not possible for just one side to reach a mutual understanding when there’s no one with whom to negotiate.

      The quick and easy answer is to insist that the problem is one of demand and not of supply. “If you don’t like what you see on the television, turn it off,” but it’s just not that easy. The law of supply and demand, in a perfect environment, would handle this issue – and we wouldn’t have spam, pop-up ads, faxes from Nigeria, chain letters or bogus network marketing scams.

      But the cold, hard fact is that society does play a role in providing a solution. Ethical standards of conduct have to be understood and respected. Personally, I’m not in favor of more government oversight – the government hasn’t proven capable of overseeing much of anything over the last twelve to sixteen years as I see it – but someone needs to take a lead in a public debate. And if it’s not those of us who work and profit from the media that debate will become the responsibility of our elected leadership.”

    This is a significant issue. I hope you guys will continue to follow it and stimulate the debate.
    Thanks again,
    Mike Bawden
    Brand Central Station