T-Mobile Pulls Ads From FX

Jul 21, 2006  •  Post A Comment

By Jon Lafayette and Ira Teinowitz

T-Mobile pulled its advertising from the FX cable channel after the cell-phone company’s president said he personally watched the network’s programs, including “Rescue Me,” and decided they were too edgy.

In a letter to the American Family Association, which has targeted advertisers as part of a “Fed-Up with FX Network” campaign, T-Mobile President and CEO Robert Dotson said the company has a policy not to support programming that is “sexually gratuitous and explicit, racist, hateful or excessively violent.”

After viewing the FX programs, he found “some of the choices we have made are clearly inconsistent with who we are and what we stand for” as a provider of phone services to young people and families.

Having pulled all advertising from FX, T-Mobile will conduct a review of its advertising standards to ensure they’re consistent with the brand, Mr. Dotson said. T-Mobile’s response to the American Family Association reflects the influence that morality advocates can exert on advertisers and the ripple effect that can have on TV networks.

As part of its campaign to convince T-Mobile to stop advertising on “Rescue Me,” the American Family Association noted that the show’s July 11 episode include two rape scenes, a graphic discussion about women’s breasts and a lengthy scene involving pornographic magazines and videos. The program contained a total of 109 strong profanities, or one every 33 seconds.

A spokesman for FX confirmed that T-Mobile this week had pulled its advertising. Ratings for “Rescue Me” are up this season and it is one of the most critically acclaimed shows on television, the spokesman said, adding that the show airs after 10 p.m. and that 90 percent of its viewers are age 18 or older.

The network’s marketing has made it clear that the series contains adult material, the spokesman said.