'Survivor' plan to split up races splits voters, too

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When "Survivor" announced its new season would pit different races against one another, advertisers such as Coca-Cola and Proctor & Gamble fled the show. All the marketers, though, claimed their decisions had nothing to do with the new plotline. Regardless, 51% of readers do not think marketers should shy away from advertising with this fall's "Survivor" because of the racial component.

"However awful I think the idea is, it will be widely watched and anticipated among the mainstream audience," said Angela Natividad, co-founder of EthosPlanning.com. Edward Dinicola, senior analyst at BRG, said: "The real winners will be the advertisers who do not abandon it." Others agreed it would be silly to miss out on the buzz the show has generated, as well as the chance to address the issue of race. "It is an incredible opportunity for any advertiser brave enough to step up and contribute to a much-needed dialogue," said Victor Savolainen, a senior designer at Morningstar.

But others, such as Deborah Gray-Young, VP-director of media and strategic services for E. Morris Communications, warned the controversy wasn't worth the risk: "While this season of 'Survivor' will no doubt garner sizeable ratings, the mind-sets of [many] consumers will not be conducive to the effective reception of a marketer's message." Some said it depends on the brand. "Brands with more targeted niches or with more of a cultural identity that plays into their brand may stay away to be safe," said Katie Trainor, a business student at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Jay Knott, customer marketing manager, Valassis, said: "It should be about the consumers, not the vehicles."

What you say: 51% of voters said marketers that steer clear of this season's racially charged "Survivor" are missing out on the buzz the show has generated and the opportunity it provides to join a dialogue on race relations. The rest warn it's just too big a risk.
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