The 18-month-long campaign is essentially a large public service announcement (PSA) effort, in which TV ad time from stations and networks is donated. The marketing effort urges parents to use available TV controls to manage kids' viewing, such as using VCRs and DVRs to watch adult-oriented fare while children sleep. The effort also explains in simple terms what the V-chip is and how to use it.
McCann Erickson New York is doing the pro bono creative work. It focuses on the theme that parents are the "TV boss." The TV spots direct parents to www.thetvboss.org, which offers suggestions to help block programming as well as providing a "media plan" for children. The campaign extends radio, print, and Web advertising.
One TV spot has a housewife talking to the characters of a "Sopranos"-like mob in her living room. She likes the show, but says the scene where Vinnie was whacked in the head with a shovel was too graphic for her kids. She says she'll have to "block" it so the kids won't see it. In another spot, a father talks to a drug addict, telling him that he, too, will be blocked.
The campaign was recently presented to the Senate Commerce Committee. Last year, that committee, headed by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), started a TV indecency forum.
The campaign was produced in partnership with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA; the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, (NCTA) representing cable programmers and operators; the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB); the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA); television broadcast networks, including ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox; and direct-to-home satellite providers DirecTV and EchoStar.
Jack Valenti, former Motion Picture Association of America president, spearheaded the TV boss campaign. Valenti created the movie-ratings systems more than three decades ago to stave off similar content regulation of that medium.