You are what you sponsor…at least according to the Parents Television Council.
The education advocates for “responsible entertainment” have taken on fast-food chain McDonald’s for advertising during FOX’s latest horror-comedy series Scream Queens—what it sees as a “mean-spirited, sexualized, gory horror show…unsafe for children of any age.”
“The Golden Arches brand now stands for sexual fantasies with dead people and with decapitating college coeds. No wonder McDonald’s is having problems attracting families, when millions of the company’s media dollars underwrite such content on Scream Queens early in the evening on primetime broadcast TV,” PTC President Tim Winter said in a press release last week.
By “sponsoring” the council simply means commercials for McDonald’s, one of the world’s top brands, are seen during broadcasts of the major network’s primetime show. Even if just as twistedly justified, countless other advertisements air along its side, so why has the group condemned the chain alone?
Within the PR industry you’re typically only as good as the associations you keep, but there’s no denying the PTC’s propensity to go a bit overboard. Some may say those kinds of assertions sound right up its historic alley, so what’s to be expected?
Perhaps the organization should look at the bigger persuasive picture.
The council may be entitled to its own opinion but needs to consider what’s potentially self-proclaimed in the process. As the case from any communications standpoint, publicly jumping to potentially irrational conclusions can do just as much damage to your own reputation as that of whomever you’re targeting.
From Gossip Girl to Family Guy, Muppets themes to Miley’s antics, the PTC is known for lashing out at what seems like everything within a 10-foot pole of supposedly “harmful” entertainment value. Beyond Scream Queens, the group has also deemed American Horror Story, another from creator Ryan Murphy’s television repertoire, the “most vile content ever.”
Although the PTC successfully panders to its specialty niche of an audience, continuing down a path of combative hyper-criticism will only tarnish its image amidst mainstream entertainment-seeking publics.
Plus, with contested claims of all-day breakfast, Burger King Peace Day battles and pizza wars incited with Italy, McDonald’s has enough on its of-late crisis plate to stay occupied sans the council’s second wind of antagonism.
Despite concern for supposed long-term effects, the PTC should beware dragging itself equally down alongside those it scorns.
Until McDonald’s begins including a chainsaw with every Happy Meal, I think the kids will be all right.