LOS ANGELES (Christian Examiner) – Wendy's, Coca Cola and Walmart were among the most responsible advertisers in 2015 by supporting positive programming, while Microsoft, McDonald's and Target were among the least responsible advertisers, according to the Parents Television Council's annual "best and worst" advertisers list.
The companies on the "best" list demonstrated a "willingness to support positive TV programming," while the "worst" companies "supported TV shows that routinely feature sex, violence, and profanity" and "have not responded to calls to reevaluate their sponsorship behavior," PTC said.
The "worst" list contains some surprising names, especially for families who don't track commercials. McDonald's, for example, is generally thought of as a family-friendly restaurant thanks to its Happy Meals and indoor play areas. But it made the "worst" list after a one-year hiatus. It also was on the 2012 and 2013 "worst" lists.
PTC President Tim Winter urged consumers to reference the list during the Christmas shopping season.
"TV's influence does not end when the commercials are over," Winter said. "Those companies on our 'best' list recognize that fact, choosing to put their ad dollars towards supporting TV programming that is more positive and wholesome for families. And that's no easy feat since there's such a dearth of safe primetime broadcast TV shows for families to watch together. We applaud those on our 'best' list for taking seriously their responsibility towards families."
Companies on the "worst" list, Winter said, "consistently sponsor primetime broadcast TV shows that feature extremely disturbing and harmful content."
"Some of those shows include: 'Family Guy,' which over the past year has featured 'jokes' about sexually assaulting children; 'Wicked City,' a serial killer-focused drama that routinely shows graphic violence and sex; 'Scream Queens,' which shows graphic gore akin to R-rated horror movies," Winter added.
The following companies or brands made PTC's "best" list: Google, Nestle, Trident, Dentyne, Bubblicious, Tomblerone, Sanofi, Johnson & Johnson, P&G, Cover Girl, Luvs, Swiffer, Bounty, Tide, Crest, Pampers, Duracell, Gillette, Always, NyQuil, Coca Cola, Wendy's, Dunkin' Brands, Prudential, Office Depot, Helzberg Diamonds, Marshalls, Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Sears, Walmart.
PTC's "bad" companies were the following: Microsoft, Mars, Wrigley, Bayer, Merck, Dove, Axe, Lipton, Suave, Vaseline, Hellmann's, Red Bull, McDonald's, Burger King, Yum!, Nationwide, Staples, Kay Jewelers, Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works, La Senza, Target, Best Buy.
"Companies can choose to change their sponsorships – and we urge those in the worst category to reevaluate their ad buys," Winter said. "Research shows that programs with high levels of violent or sexual content can actually repress the viewers' ability to recall advertised brands. By contrast, subjects who watched 'neutral' programming were better able to recall the ads the following day. ... We ask Americans who are concerned about the effect of harmful TV content on children to use this list as they begin their holiday shopping, to reward the good ones and avoid the worst."