Kentucky Bites Back

There’s that great line in Jaws when Richard Dreyfuss says, “I’m not gonna waste my time arguing with a man who’s lining up to be a hot lunch.” Well, Doe-Anderson, new found purveyor of shark-attack humor, could be excused for feeling that way about two Kentucky TV stations.

To promote an aquar ium in Newport, Ky., close to Cincinnati, the shop created a TV spot giving a fictional “special report” of a shark attack in the Ohio River. The campy ad has a comical TV-reporter-as-hot-lunch ending, as the chilling beast clamps onto the woman’s hide and drags her under.

Sounds pretty real, right? Shoptalk, who hears that weird things sometimes happen in Kentucky, would be tempted to board up the windows and call Roy Scheider. WLKY in Louisville and WTVQ in Lexington weren’t taking chances, either; they pulled the ad—a move that prompted backtracking from the aquarium’s Lisa Popyk, who told the AP, “We really don’t want Aunt Bessie to wake up from her knitting and think sharks really have invaded the Ohio River.”

Bessie aside, public fear may not have been the chief concern. Sources say the stations disliked the way the ad portrayed their profession and asked (fruitlessly) that it be altered. Meanwhile, 30 other stations are airing it, and 70 percent of respondents to an ABC News poll condemned the stations’ actions. “I think that says it all,” says Doe-Anderson chief creative officer James White.