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Clearasil Breaks Out On MTV's 'Skins'

After most well known advertisers pulled out of MTV's
controversial Skins after its premiere,
a familiar brand appeared in the show's third episode.

Two spots for Reckitt Benckiser's zit remedy Clearasil
appeared in the episode of Skins that
aired Monday night at 10 p.m. ET. The spots might have appeared in the show as
part of a product integration deal-the brand Clearasil was mentioned in the
show, but perhaps not in the way most brand managers would approve.

About half way through the show, one of the characters is
trying to return a damaged stereo to the story. To persuade the clerk to accept
the merchandise, he offers an unusual piece of skin care advice. "Piss on a
piece of toilet paper and rub it on your face. It works better than Clearasil,"
he says. The clerk responds that he's tried it and it hasn't worked.

After the first episode of Skins aired, the Parents Television Council, which called the show
"the most dangerous ever" for kids because it shows teens having sex and taking
drugs, began calling advertisers, prompting General Motors, Taco Bell, Wrigley's,
H&R Block, Subway and Schick to promise that their spots will no longer
appear in Skins. Concerns about the
show grew amid reports the network was concerned that by using teen actors in
some racy scenes, it could be charged under child pornography laws. With all this
going on, MTV plans to appeal to marketers to advertise on the network next
season during an upfront presentation on Wednesday.

 Clearasil was joined in Skins' third episode on Monday night by another zit remedy,
Proactiv, which ran direct response spots during the show. The other
advertisers were movies, the Playstation video game Dead Space 2, some public
service announcements and promos mainly for MTV and Vh1 shows. There was also a
promo for Fox's new series Traffic Light,
the CW's Hellcats and TBS' Conan (those might have run in local
commercial breaks).

MTV might have missed another opportunity for product
placement during the episode, during which one of the teen boys sported a long-lasting
erection after eating a large number of "boner pills." In a scene in the boys'
room, he's shown with the pill packaging, but they feature made-up brands like
Erectagra and Flagz, rather than Viagra and Cialis.

MTV appears to have had an even harder time selling ads in
the rerun of the third episode of Skins,
which aired in the 11 p.m. ET time slot. In addition to numerous direct response
spots for Proactiv, the usual movie ads and a promo for NASCAR on Fox, there
was a long direct response ad for Flirty Girl Fitness, an exercise program that
includes pole dancing.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.