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Press Release

May 22, 2008

PTC Asks Payless to Walk Out on Support of Graphic TV Shows

Topeka, Kan. (May 22, 2008) – At the Collective Brands shareholders meeting today, the Parents Television Council™ took the parent company of Payless ShoeSource to task for its television advertising practices. Glen Erickson, PTC’s Director of Corporate Relations, spoke at the meeting and asked the company to stop supporting programming that contains excessive violence, sexual content and profane language with its Payless brand.


Mr. Erickson made it clear to the shareholders that based on the company’s own rules for the meeting that include not referencing issues of a sexual nature, he was unable to repeat specific content examples from the programs that Payless paid to deliver into every home in America. Mr. Erickson gave an amended version of his statement at the meeting; the following are excerpts from the statement that he had originally prepared and had intended to deliver:

“The reason I’m here today is because Payless Shoes frequently advertises on programming that contains graphic violence, excessive sexual content and profane language.


“Collective Brands is well-known for its corporate social responsibility by being a part of the communities that it serves. Through national and international charitable support, community outreach and volunteerism, Collective Brands has improved the quality of life for others.  


“It is a shame that Collective Brands cannot demonstrate leadership as a responsible corporate citizen because it consistently advertises on some of the most violent and vulgar programming on television. Each year the PTC evaluates over 452 corporations according to their media buying practices. Collective Brands had nearly the worst ranking at number 449.


“We implore Collective Brands to reconsider its sponsorship of shows such as ‘Bones’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ Because ‘Bones’ is a crime drama, problematic violent and sexual content is routinely present. One episode of ‘Bones’ featured sexual fetish ‘pony-play’ in which a man was treated like a horse by his ‘rider.’ The violent content in ‘Bones’ is very graphic including decomposed bodies and skeletal figures.

“‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ a show about hospital interns, depicts characters engaging in adulterous sexual activity often having multiple sexual partners in the same episode. Gory surgical depictions are also present in ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ Does this type of programming reflect your corporate values?


“These shows consistently contain coarse and inappropriate language, along with gratuitous sex and violence and are in direct opposition to Collective Brands’ family image. 


“Chairman Fricke, for the protection of our children and in the spirit of fostering strong communities, we ask that you take control of your company’s advertising dollars and redirect them to responsible programming.

“We understand the imperative of reaching your target audience and providing positive returns for shareholders, but we believe this can be done in a family-friendly manner. The PTC would welcome the opportunity to work with Collective Brands in finding alternative programming.”



The Parents Television Council™ (www.parentstv.org®) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. This national grassroots organization has more than 1.3 million members across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children. The PTC also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.




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