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Toyota pulls its ads off 'Nip/Tuck' series

The move follows a letter-writing campaign by a parents watchdog group decrying the FX drama's raw content.

November 09, 2005|Steven Barrie-Anthony | Times Staff Writer

Toyota Motor Corp. has pulled all advertising from the FX drama "Nip/Tuck" in part over concerns about the show's content, according to a Nov. 1 letter from the automaker addressed to the television decency advocacy group Parents Television Council.

The move follows a letter-writing campaign by the L.A.-based PTC informing "Nip/Tuck" advertisers of the graphic depictions of sex and violence on the show and asking them to rescind their sponsorships, said Tim Winter, the group's executive director.

"We applaud Toyota for their decision," Winter said. "We understand their need to reach young audiences and their desire for edgy programming.... Protecting children from graphic sex and violence in the media is a shared responsibility. Parents are the front line, but advertisers need to be responsible also."

The PTC has contacted hundreds of "Nip/Tuck" advertisers since the show first aired in 2003, said Winter, "and dozens have responded by no longer sponsoring shows or letting us know that they won't continue their sponsorship in the future."

Having advertisers walk away is nothing new for the surgery-heavy show. Last year, Ben & Jerry's and Gateway Inc. were among firms that pulled ads from the show, although reasons for their decisions were not publicly given. Other advertisers sometimes pulled out of specific episodes, such as one that included underage drinking.

Toyota spokeswoman Nancy Hubbell said the carmaker's decision was based on several factors, including content. She described the move as part of a broader reevaluation of where and how Toyota advertises.

John Solberg, vice president of public relations for FX, declined to comment on Toyota's decision, saying the network does not discuss individual advertisers.

"The show is sold out for the season at one of the highest advertiser rates in all of cable," Solberg said. He said that the show's first seven episodes averaged 2.8 million viewers in the highly valued 18-49 age bracket.

Times staff writer Scott Martelle contributed to this report.

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