A recent survey by our sister publication MediaWeek makes it clear that the truth is more complicated, though. As you'd expect, a majority of people who are unlikely to watch shows with sexual and/or violent content say they'd make a point of shunning the sponsors' products. But as the chart here shows, even among the viewers who rate as least likely to avoid such shows, significant numbers still say they're prone to think ill of the sponsors for putting the programming on the air. Is that hypocritical of them? Not really. After all, one can draw a perfectly rational distinction between watching a show and paying vast amounts of money to assure that it will be beamed all over the country. Among other things, then, the survey suggests there isn't a reliable connection between the ratings a show receives and the level of audience it delivers that's potentially receptive to the advertiser's message.
Please think about products advertised on programs containing sex and violence. Would you say your impression of these products is unchanged, lowered somewhat or lowered to the point that you would no longer consider purchasing those products?
Total Male Female Black White
Unchanged 54.9% 57.7% 51.6% 42.9% 56.9%
Lowered somewhat 27.2 25.2 29.3 33.9 26.3
Would no longer consider buying those products 15.7 14.5 17.1 23.2 14.9
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)