Viacom must be really hurting for cash. First, they give Spike viewers 10-minute commercial breaks during Entourage and in October, their Nicktoons channel will begin airing Zevo-3, which a children’s advocacy group says is nothing but an extended ad for Skechers.
The show, which debuts Oct. 11 and is the first production of Skechers Entertainment, is the subject of a complaint filed with the FCC by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.
In addition to being a Skechers production, the characters on the show will also be featured in ads for Skechers shoes. The CCFC says that three of Zevo-3’s main characters — Elastika, Kewl Breeze and Z-Strap — each embody a different Skechers shoe line.
“It’s clear that Skechers and Nicktoons are flouting the policies established by Congress to protect children from excessive commercialism,” said the CCFC’s director, calling the show “a 22-minute commercial masquerading as a kids’ TV show.”
You’ll never guess what Skechers and Viacom had to say about the allegations.
“We’ve all worked hard to ensure that we are within the parameters of F.C.C. requirements,” said a rep for the sneaker company-turned-cartoon-producer. “While we commend the goals of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood to watch over the airwaves [the show is worthwhile because it has] strong and positive characters who deal with issues that kids confront on a regular basis, from peer pressure to family relationships.”
A rep for Viacom’s MTV Networks division was a little less flowery: “This show does not violate the Children’s Television Act. We obviously wouldn’t air it if it did.”
Is Skechers’ approach any different than what Hasbro and other toy companies did with GI Joe, He-Man, Thundercats, My Little Pony and others during our childhood?
Coming Children’s Show Draws Complaints [NY Times]