Sex and violence
The group based its fifth-annual listing on how often advertisers aired spots in "wholesome, family-oriented" shows vs. on programs containing "sexually graphic, violent or profane material." All the analyzed ad placements appeared on prime-time broadcast TV during the last season.
"There is good news and bad news," said PTC President Brent Bozell. "We compliment those who made the best but some [on the worst list] need to take responsibility."
Networks blame advertisers
He said advertisers' unwillingness to buy ads on certain shows could help spur networks to air more family-friendly programs, but that network officials say advertisers are demanding more edgy content.
"Advertisers have to take responsibility for their ads," said Mr. Bozell. "I've been told by several network executives that advertisers make them do it [run the edgy content]."
Last year PTC put GM, Toyota, Ford, Volkswagen, DaimlerChrysler and Nissan, along with Sprint and Pepsi, on its worst list. PTC officials said Ford's active sponsorship of "American Idol" helped it move to the best list, while Sprint and Pepsi made neither list this year.
All the car companies except Ford are back on this year's worst list. They're joined by Target Corp., GlaxoSmithKline, Apple Computer, American Express and Circuit City.
Two of last year's "best" -- J.M. Smucker and Merck & Co. -- dropped from this year's best list. Coca-Cola topped the best list this year, rising from eighth last year.
Car companies defend ads
Officials at some of the carmakers today defended their advertising.
"Our brands advertise using a wide variety of programming to reach the diverse and broad audiences that make up the American public," said Jason Vines, VP-Chrysler Group Communications.
Ryndee S. Carney, a GM spokeswoman, said the company maintains a corporate policy regarding media selection and placement "that is aimed at ensuring GM advertises on programming consistent and compatible with the image of our brands and our business needs."
~ ~ ~
Jean Halliday in Detroit contributed to this story.