MTV’s ‘Skins’ just too much for advertisers?


Here's something that's upside down—advertisers seem to be agreeing with the Parents Television Council about Skins, the new teen MTV series marinated in sex, drugs and alcohol. Following strong advertiser interest in the premiere, Taco Bell, General Motors, Wrigley and H&R Block have all pulled their ads from the show, with the latter saying its spot aired by mistake—tax preparation apparently not being a favorite pastime of this demo. (For now, advertisers who remain committed include Subway, Schick, L'Oréal and Foot Locker.) That its cries to condemn Skins are at least partly being heard must be quite refreshing for the PTC, whose wolf-crying objections to televised sex, drug use and profanity usually come off as priggish, have little effect on advertisers, and mostly just legitimize the content for youngsters. (The networks typically don't mind a PTC drubbing, either. The CW once celebrated PTC criticisms of Gossip Girl by using its outraged quotes on print ads.) Skins is a different animal, though. If reasonable people (not just the PTC) and youth-oriented marketers find it abhorrent (and possibly illegal), then MTV will be forced to water it down—even if it's a ratings smash. Meanwhile, check out director Evan Silver's "Reverse Party" Skins promo below, complete with copious teen drinking, bong-hitting and vomiting, along with a cameo by a vibrator. The clip goes backward in time—something the four frightened advertisers no doubt wish they could do as well. UPDATE: On Monday, Subway decided to pull its ads, too.