Ad Council's Parental TV Monitoring Spot A Good Start

David Kiley

The Ad Council is releasing two public service TV ads produced by McCann-Erickson to remind parents of the importance of using the available blocking technology to keep young eyes from watching inappropriate fare.

One ad shows a Mom talking to three "Mafia" types who look like they could have walked off the set of the Sopranos (no coincidence there, I think). She tells the don that the scene in which Vinnie was hit in the head with a shovel was too graphic and violent for her kids to see. So, they are going to be blocked from now, she says. The work also refers viewers to a Web site,, where parents can learn how to use television-blocking technology.

Ad Council research found that 70-80 percent of parents are concerned that their children are watching programs that are inappropriate. But, prhaps not surprisingly, the percentage of parents who engage the blocking technology on their TVs that is available from cable and sat-TV companies is much lower. That's due mostly to laziness, though simple awareness is an issue too.

The McAnn-Erickson ad is pretty good as it goes. It's viewable at But future ads could be a lot more shocking and compelling to drive the point home. I might have shown a scene of a rapt Mom and Dad watching an obvious HBO or perhaps FX show [The Shield maybe]. The camera would pan across the father eating popcorn, the Mom eating Popcorn, and then the camera lands on a 12 year old boy watching the same show. Or maybe it's a scene of the kid watching really inappropriate TV while the dad or Mom is in the background on the phone or Net surfing. I think parents might respond better if they were shocked into shame, like an ad I have seen lately that show a baby in a rear carseat inhaling his Mother's cigarette smoke. That got my attention.

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