Published on Friday, January 16, 2004 by Reuters
CBS Blocks PETA, MoveOn Super Bowl Ads
by Peter Henderson
LOS ANGELES - U.S. football fans will not see ads featuring scantily clad vegetarians or a political attack on President Bush during February's Super Bowl after CBS said on Thursday that advocacy advertisements were out of bounds on professional football's biggest day.
The network, over the years, has rejected dozens of advertising proposals by advocacy groups, who argue that the network only airs controversial messages that it agrees with.
"We just want to be able to present our jiggly women," said Lisa Lange, spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, asking to join advertisers like beer brewers who has boosted sales with images of scantily-clad women.
Liberal group Moveon.org, known for its Internet funding power, told members this week that it hoped to have the first political Super Bowl ad.
But its hopes were dashed when CBS said the spot, which asks "Guess who's going to pay off President Bush's $1 trillion deficit?" was an issue piece and could not run.
In a letter, CBS told PETA that it would not run advertisements on "controversial issues of public importance."
CBS spokesman Dana McClintock said the policy had been in place for years. "We have a policy against accepting advocacy advertising," he added. CBS, a unit of Viacom Inc., does run political advertising for and against candidates.
CBS came under criticism in November when it decided not to run a two-part made-for-television movie, "The Reagans," after conservatives complained that it was unflattering to former president Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy.
PETA spokeswoman Lange said that CBS's broadcast of anti-smoking advertisements and even hamburger chain spots were controversial, advocacy pieces, as well.
"In essence, CBS is saying we will air an advocacy ad if we agree with the viewpoint," she said.
The PETA ad shows two scantily clad women snuggling up to a meat-eating pizza delivery man. "Meat can cause impotence," the screen reads after the rendezvous fails.
CBS also said the PETA spot raised "significant taste concerns.
Copyright 2004 Reuters Ltd