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'Skins' Sponsors Lose More Weight

Weight-loss supplement Hydroxcut had three commercials in Monday night's episode of Skins, the controversial MTV show that has largely been shunned by most traditional marketers.

Reckitt Benckiser's Clearasil, one of the few mainstream brands that said it would not pull its ads from Skins, did not appear on the show for a second straight week. Also not appearing was Red Bull, another product that has appeared in the program several times.

Skins, which depicts teens dealing with sex and drugs, was quickly labeled as "the most dangerous show" on television for children by the Parents Television Council. The PTC has also called for investigations into charges the show's young actors are involved in child pornography and exploitations.

Several  marketers whose commercials aired during the show's premier said they would stop sponsoring the show, including Taco Bell, L'Oreal, General Motors, Schick, Subway and H&R Block.  That's left MTV to fill the show's commercial breaks with a handful of spots for movies and DVDs and promos for other TV shows, mostly from MTV.

Skins, a centerpiece of MTV's push into scripted programming, opened with 3.3 million viewers but has had fewer than 1 million the last two weeks.

The PTC has asked its followers to put pressure on Clearasil and its parent by recommending they switch to other brands. Clearasil has said that it doesn't endorse any specific show but buys ad time in blocks and allows the networks to spot its ads whenever they have free time. Three weeks ago Clearasil teamed with MTV on a primetime public service campaign called "Make the Clear Choice," aimed at getting young people to focus on important issues.  Last week, a spokesman for the company said its policy has not changed.