One of the nation's largest advertisers, Procter & Gamble, has changed its tune -- or at least a phone prompt message -- when it comes to soliciting consumer information regarding whether the packaged-goods giant should pulls its advertising over questionable content on certain MTV and BET shows.
On Monday, P & G set up an 800-number that when dialed apprised callers of two choices regarding advertising on the two cable networks: Press one if they want P&G to make changes in its advertising, or press two to indicate support for continued advertising on the networks. Input will be forwarded to the proper P&G executives, the recording indicated.
The dialog at the 800-number, though, was revised between the time Multichannel News called April 28 and on April 29. Now, the number at the Cincinnati-based company references the fact that viewers are being urged to call the number by Enough is Enough, an advocacy group partnering with the Parents Television Council. Callers are given two choices: press one if they are calling due to the Enough is Enought prompt; or press two if P&G should continue to advertise. The callers are advised, after they make a selection, that “this is not a poll” that will affect future choices by the corporation, but the data will be forwarded to appropriate people in the company.
P&G corporate external relations manager Tammy Jones Tuesday said the 800- number was set up as an “effective way to centrally collect feedback from callers” on the topic that Enough is Enough was encouraging consumers to call P&G about. She reiterated that it is not a poll or set up as a way to vote on the impact of future choices by the company.
"We didn't solicit the input," she said.
P&G is being criticized by Enough is Enough for its advertising support of targeted shows on the cable networks. The Parents Television Councle released a report on April 10 asserting that, based on its monitoring of the programs, the shows are “bombarding” youth with music videos larded with sex, violence and profanity. The group singles out BET's Rap City and 106 & Park, and MTV's Sucker Free for its toughest criticism. The group, in its study, alleges these music video shows depict sex, violence or other profane images on average every 38 seconds.
Enough is Enough was formed last September to fight images on television that objectify women as sex objects, promote stereotypes of minorities as thugs and drug dealers and depict other negative images. The group has also criticized Procter & Gamble directly, labeling the corporation as hypocritical for promoting a marketing effort called “My Black is Beautiful,” which affirms the inner and outer beauty of African American women while it advertises on the targeted music video shows.