VH1's 'Dating Naked' Loses Advertisers After Parents Television Council Complains

Mondelez, Hhgregg and Henkel Pull Out of Reality Show

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'Dating Naked.'
'Dating Naked.' Credit: VH1

Mondelez, retailer Hhgregg and Henkel have told VH1 to stop running their ads during the reality show "Dating Naked" following complaints by the Parents Television Council advocacy group.

Contestants on "Dating Naked" spend most of their time in the nude, with genitals and breasts blurred out for viewers.

The PTC says its mission is "to protect children and families from graphic sex, violence and profanity in the media, because of their proven long-term harmful effects."

After VH1 ran the first two episodes of the third season of "Dating Naked" beginning June 29, the PTC reached out to marketers whose ads had appeared and urged them not to support the program.

Several answered that VH1 had placed ads into time slots during the show without their knowledge or consent, according to Melissa Henson, program director at the PTC. Others said "Dating Naked" had been on their do-not-buy list, she said.

Advertisers typically buy broad schedules from cable networks such as VH1 rather than securing commercial time in a specific show, although they can indicate that they don't want their ads in specific programs or kinds of content.

"We have specific guidelines in place to help steward our media spend, which should prevent our ads from appearing in this type of programming," Mondelez said in an email to the PTC that was provided by Ms. Henson. "Mondelēz International did not purchase this program specifically and has not previously aired ads on the program. In keeping with our policy, we have directed our media partner to ensure that we do not run advertising for any of our brands on this program in the future."

"Out of an abundance of caution, we have also requested a programming schedule for rotation buys to ensure that the specific programs are acceptable to Mondelēz International," Mondelez said.

A Mondelez spokeswoman confirmed the email.

In a letter to the PTC also provided by Ms. Henson, Hhgregg said "our buying guidelines are very specific in terms of program content, precluding the inclusion of shows that feature the kind of gratuitous sexuality in 'Dating Naked.' Unfortunately, errors do occasionally occur and our spot mistakenly ran within the program. We have informed VH1 that this program, and all similar programming on their network, is to be specifically eliminated from all current and future hhgregg television buys."

An Hhgregg spokesman said in an email that the situation has been handled by the company and PTC "with both parties in agreement." She declined to elaborate.

Henkel sent a message to the PTC on Twitter.

The Parents Television Council is still asking other advertisers in "Dating Naked" to steer clear, offering form letters on the PTC website that visitors can send to Samsung and Sprint. It is also urging VH1 to provide notice to advertisers before running their commercials in "Dating Naked."

A Viacom spokeswoman declined to comment.

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