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Sponsors Stay Away From MTV's ‘Skins'

The controversy swirling around MTV's new show Skins appears
to have scared off nearly all of the more familiar marketers who advertised in
the show's debut.

Nearly all of the paid ad commercials on the show's second episodes, which had
its debut Monday night, were from movie studios. Also on the show were Red Bull
energy drink, a video game, an acne remedy, a spot for a stretch mark cream
that might have been a direct response spot and some public service

Even before it aired, Skins, a remake of a British show about the sex and drug
habits of teens, was dubbed "the most dangerous" show for children ever aired
on American television by the Parents Television Council. With teen actors
appearing in the show, there were reports that there was a possibility the show
could be accused of child exploitation or child pornography.

Members of the PTC began contacting the companies that advertised on the show
when it premiered last week. The result was a series of marketers promising
never to advertise on the show again. Those advertisers included Taco Bell, General Motors, Wrigley, H&R Block,
Schick and L'Oreal.

There were some observers who believed that the controversy could result in
higher ratings for the show, whose debut drew 3.2 million viewers, including
the biggest audience of people 12-34 ever for a series launch on MTV. Ratings
for the second episode should be available later on Tuesday.

During Skins' second airing, most commercial blocks were relatively short.
Among the movies being promoted were No Strings Attached, The Mechanic, Just Go
With it, Unknown, I Am Number Four, The Roommate, The Eagle, Sanctum, Drive
Angry, The Rite
, and From Prada to Nada.

Red Bull had two ads. Also with multiple ads was the Hot Spot acne remedy from
Zeno Corp. that had Whitney Port of MTV's The Hills and The City as a
spokeswoman. There were also several spots for Celtrixa, a stretch mark cream,
that featured an 800 number, meaning it was likely a direct response ad. Direct
response ads usually pay a different, lower rate for ad time.

The Playstation video game Dead Space 2 was also advertised during the show.

There were also a handful of spots that ran in what appeared to be local time
on Comcast in Chicago. Those included one for HP personal computers, one for a
concert by Linkin Park and one for the new Syfy show Face Off.

In a statement, MTV has said that, "Skins is a show that addresses
real-world issues confronting teens in a frank way. We review all of our shows
and work with all of our producers on an ongoing basis to ensure our shows
comply with laws and community standards."

The statement added, "We are confident that the episodes of Skins will not
only comply with all applicable legal requirements, but also with our
responsibilities to our viewers. We also have taken numerous steps to alert
viewers to the strong subject matter so that they can choose for themselves
whether it is appropriate."