Take, for instance, the website One Million Moms, which the American Family Association (AFA) launched for mothers who are "fed up with the filth many segments of our society, especially the entertainment media, are throwing at our children." One of the current calls to action at OneMillionMoms.com : "Please send Ben & Jerry 's public-relations manager, Sean Greenwood, an email letter requesting that no additional Schweddy Balls ice cream be distributed."
I bet a lot of people didn't even know Ben & Jerry 's has a new ice-cream flavor inspired by a classic "Saturday Night Live" skit staring Alec Baldwin as bakery owner Pete Schweddy, who enthuses about his shop's signature treat ("No one can resist my Schweddy Balls") on "Delicious Dish," a parody of an ultra-low-key NPR cooking show. But thanks to widespread media coverage of this irresistible story -- OneMillionMoms.com pans "the vulgar new flavor" for turning "something as innocent as ice cream into something repulsive" -- now everybody knows about Ben & Jerry 's Schweddy Balls. Good luck finding it in stock at your local supermarket.
Or consider Glenn Beck's recent take on the latest Levi's "Go Forth" commercial, which he says "glorifies revolution." (It shows scenes of urban unrest juxtaposed with partying kids while a gravelly voiced announcer reads the Charles Bukowski poem "The Laughing Heart": "Your life is your life/ don't let it be clubbed into dank submission...") "Never again, Levi's, will you get a dime from me," Beck declared on his show in a soundbite that ricocheted across the media. "I won't wear your stupid red tab." You could practically hear the Champagne corks popping at Levi's headquarters in San Francisco.
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Email Ad Age media columnist Simon Dumenco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.