MTV's “Skins” Stripped of More Advertisers

Well, you can’t please everybody.

Following the heated controversy of MTV’s “Skins,” the American answer to the British show of the same name about teenagers exploring life, love, and recreational drug use, more advertisers are pulling out their commercials from the taboo show.

After Wrigley’s withdrew their commercials, companies like H&R Block and General Motors are taking out their content. The Parents Television Council has been on the warpath against the show, as it finds so much graphic content (42 depictions of illegal drugs and illicit sexual mentions in 41 minutes of the pilot) disturbing to MTV’s younger viewers. Melissa Henson, the Director of Communication and Public Education for the PTC, says that a large part has to do with the age of the actors involved.

“The key difference between “Skins” and a program like “Gossip Girl” is that [“Skins”] actually uses a very young cast, between the ages of 15 and 19," said Henson. "They have these high school kids in highly eroticized, highly sexualized positions."

The concern isn’t that kids watching the show will automatically begin partying to the nth degree, but rather that they absorb the behaviors they see on TV subconsciously. “Just by putting it on television makes it typical, makes it expected,” Henson said. “That’s not to say it factors into their decision-making process.”

Henson pointed out that older WB shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Dawson’s Creek” got a lot of publicity in their heyday, but it was more wholesome shows like “7th Heaven” that drew in stronger, more consistent ratings.

The PTC said in a statement on Saturday that they are encouraging more sponsors to take out their advertisements—among them, L’Oreal, Foot Locker, and Schick Hydro.

The end result, ultimately, is for parents to be aware of what their teens are watching. “It’s important that parents know what’s out there,” Henson said. “Beyond that, I hope that MTV gets the message that they’ve gone too far in this series.

"We also are hopeful that advertisers will get the message that they will be held responsible by the content that was made possible by their ad dollars.”

Selected Reading: The Today Show, Skins, PTC

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