Is a Ratings System for TV Commercials Needed?

The Federal Communications Commission is considering a content ratings system for television commercials. Such a system, coupled with the right technology, would allow viewers to block reception of commercials they deem inappropriate or offensive. Opposition to a ratings system is coming from the Association of National Advertisers. The ANA maintains that viewers are already able to block undesired programming using V-Chip technology, and the fact that technology exists to make blocking possible does not mean it should necessarily be legislated.

The most interesting point made by the ANA's Executive Vice President of Government Relations Dan Jaffe was "If you independently rate advertising, it will dry up the income stream because advertisers won’t advertise where people aren’t watching the ads." Here's an idea Mr. Jaffe: challenge ad agencies and your ANA membership to create ads people want to watch! The prospect of a content ratings system exists because the industry seems incapable of taking care of it through self-regulation. Personally, I don't care to have my 9-year-old son exposed to a Cialis commercial while we are watching a sporting event or a commercial for a Hardee's hamburger that is filled with sexual innuendo.

The relevance of TV as an ad medium is being challenged in part by devolving quality of work by advertisers and the agencies they hire. If advertisers do not want government regulation of TV commercial content, they should take steps own their own to insure the quality of commercials is acceptable to their audiences. I am not talking about political correctness, I am talking about using common sense.

Link: - Media Planner Daily - "ANA to FCC: Rating Commercials is Dangerous, Unconstitutional"

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