$300 Million V-Chip Ad Campaign Breaks

Media Companies Maneuver to Block Expanded Indecency Regulations

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The media industry and the Ad Council today formally launched their public service campaign valued at $300 million for the v-chip with the goal of tempering congressional complaints and answering critics' calls for greater controls on TV content.
An image from the $300 million PSA's website, thetvboss.org, about the power of the v-chip.
An image from the $300 million PSA's website, thetvboss.org, about the power of the v-chip.

Congressmen, among them U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., have repeatedly criticized media companies for not promoting the v-chip, which allows parents to block out programming rated high in sexual or violent content. While it's been included in TV sets for several years, they charge that parents have no idea it's there or no knowledge of how to use it.

Broad industry support
Plans for the campaign and broad support from the industry were announced last year by Jack Valenti, former president-CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, amid concerns that Congress might expand current indecency regulations on broadcast TV to cable TV.

The campaign is supported by MPAA, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the National Association of Broadcasters, the Consumer Electronics Association and all the major broadcast and satellite providers.

Spots in the new campaign, prepared by Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson, feature a parent telling TV characters -- mob figures in one spot, a drug user in another -- that "I am going to have to block you." The spots end with the theme "Be the boss of what your kids watch" and refer parents to a website, thetvboss.org.

Mr. Valenti is scheduled to present a briefing on the new campaign to the Senate Commerce Committee July 27.
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