Is There Anything Sally Can’t Save?

It’s time for another send-up of the Save the Children ads—but this time Sally Struthers is actually involved.

Positioning itself as the “anti-MTV,” Fuse breaks outdoor ads in New York today pleading: “Help Save the Music Video.” Copy reads, “Hello. I’m actress Sally Struthers,” next to a photo of the 54-year-old. “For years, I have been helping the children of the world. And if there’s one thing I’ve discovered, it’s that they are starving for an alternative to mainstream music television.”

The ads, done in-house, herald the arrival of Cablevision’s Fuse (formerly MuchMusic USA) on May 19. They target media and business decision makers, most of whom are old enough to remember Struthers as Gloria Bunker on All in the Family, says Fuse president Marc Juris. In the past month, Fuse executives conducted a “scratch-and-sniff” upfront at media shops across the U.S. They handed out cards with various scents—rose signified how Fuse “will make your agency smell,” Juris says, while the scent of garbage was how “another cable network will make your agency smell.”

It’s not the first Save the Children parody. South Park did a whole Sally Struthers episode, and in late 2000 posted a spoof ad that read: “All over the world, dot-coms are hurting. They are suffering from faulty business plans and cash-flow shortfalls. … In many countries, four out of five dot-coms will die within the next two years.” Struthers’ rep admitted at the time that Sally is “for saving anything but rubber bands and tinfoil balls.”

Fuse soon rolls out a national multimedia effort without Struthers.