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FCC probes complaint that cartoon advertises Skechers shoes

zevo-3.jpgThe Federal Communications Commission launched a review Wednesday into whether a television cartoon featuring characters that also advertise Skechers shoes violates rules limiting commercials to children.

“Zevo-3,” a program-length series to begin airing Oct. 11 on Nicktoons, features three superheroes from comics and television ads used by Skechers. Characters Kewl Breeze, Z-Strap and Elastika are also the names for shoe lines sold by Skechers and amount to program-length advertisements for the company, according to a complaint filed by the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood.

The FCC said it would take public comments on the complaint to determine whether the series violates the Children’s Television Act and agency rules that limit advertising in children’s programming.

CCFC filed a petition last month to the FCC saying the program would be the first children’s show featuring characters only known previously as marketing agents.
"It's clear that Skechers and Nicktoons are flouting the policies established by Congress to protect children from excessive commercialism," said CCFC's director, Susan Linn. "Zevo-3 is a 22-minute commercial masquerading as a kids' TV show."

Skechers did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The superhero characters are promoted in comics tucked into Skechers shoeboxes.

CCFC said while "Zevo-3’s" creators have promised the show won’t have product placements, it is concerned about the association of the comics with the show. In one comic, children defeat an evil character, Dr. Stankfoot, after hero Kewl Breeze gives them Skechers Airators, which claim to combat foot odor.

By Cecilia Kang  | September 22, 2010; 1:15 PM ET
Categories:  FCC  
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And this is in the Tech section, because....

Whatever, dumb article, dumb argument, just dumb from every conceivable angle. I mean, I've got kids and see what the pseudo-fuss is about, but....

It's appears tantamount to handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500.


Posted by: postgettingworse | September 22, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so it was my understanding that the FCC has little, if any, jurisdiction over cable programming. Has that changed?

Posted by: kemp13 | September 23, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Hardly a "first":

Posted by: robertdestloup | September 23, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I don't see the difference between this and any cartoon that's based on a toy (GI Joe, Transformers, etc.) or a comic book. It's cross promotion and it happens quite often. Maybe the FCC just hates Sketchers for some reason.

Posted by: Insinuated1 | September 23, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Fox News is one giant commercial for the RNC featuring their leaders Soap Opera Sarah, Huckabee, Elder Beck, Rove, Gringrinch, ad nauseum while it pretends to be a "fair and balance" news program.

Can we complain to the FCC about that, too?

Posted by: areyousaying | September 23, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Who would buy such garbage shoes? Even kids don't what such lousy shoes.

Posted by: Drudge1 | September 23, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Why do we allow ANY company to deliberately target kids with advertising? How did this ever become a "normal" thing for a corporation to do?

It's completely unethical to try to make a buck by brainwashing young minds that haven't developed critical thinking skills yet.

Posted by: vfr2dca | September 23, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

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