No one in the PR industry can resist a story that involves high-powered U.S. Senators, the health of American children and a juggernaut entertainment brand focused on profits. Indeed, the current health debate surrounding Nickelodeon contains drama of Shakespearean proportions.
Regardless of one’s view on the role of government, the dynamics of the family unit or society’s responsibilities to protect its children, from a public relations perspective, Americans see health as an important and challenging issue. We love the freedom to make personal decisions unfettered by the government or outside organizations. And we also love our children and want to protect them from those who seek to profit from selling our kids unhealthy products. And that is where the PR battle lines are being drawn with Nickelodeon right in the middle.
Nickelodeon generally has a clean, wholesome image. Chuck E. Cheese and junk food brands, which advertise on the Viacom-owned network, have a more complicated relationship with the public, particularly parents whose job it is to raise healthy kids. But now groups such as the Prevention Group, Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Berkeley Media Studies Group are teaming up with four Senators in an effort to convince Nickelodeon to stop running ads that market sugary, salty and greasy foods to kids and tweens. Read more