PTC Presents Darden Restaurants with “Seal of Approval” for TV Sponsorship Practices
ORLANDO, Fla. (September 12, 2008) – The Parents Television Council™ President Tim Winter praised Darden Restaurants at its annual shareholder meeting today and presented the company with its “Seal of Approval” for supporting family-friendly television shows through its advertising. Excerpts from Mr. Winter’s statement follow:
“The PTC frequently attends shareholder meetings in order to communicate directly with the chief executive, the board and the shareholders of publicly-traded corporations which advertise on television. And usually our message is one of concern or condemnation for what we see as irresponsible behavior. But this morning I’m here to applaud you, Chairman Otis, and to applaud this corporation for doing some very good things.”
“On behalf of the PTC’s growing membership, which now exceeds 1.3 million people from every state in the nation, I am here to personally give you this award, together with our gratitude, for providing leadership with respect to responsible advertising practices in the casual dining category. While some of your competitors continue to support negative programming that undermines the family unit and in particular hurts children, this corporation has demonstrated an extraordinary level of responsibility. Olive Garden and Red Lobster advertised in such family-friendly programs as ‘Dancing With The Stars,’ ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ and ‘Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?’
“There is more good news to report. The PTC monitors every advertiser on every primetime network television program. The various Darden subsidiaries collectively ranked as one of the top-twenty best sponsors during the 2006-2007 television season, maintaining high standards in selecting appropriate programming when spending their advertising dollars. Darden Restaurants was ranked 18 out of 452 advertisers, placing themselves in the top five percent of all national advertisers.
“Just last week, the premiere episode of the program ‘90210’ aired on the CW television network. That network expressed their intention to prevent advertiser screenings of the program before it aired. We cautioned advertisers not to sponsor this program unless and until they had screened the program to determine if the content was appropriate, and Red Lobster confirmed to us in writing that they would not purchase this program. Now we know why the network didn’t want you to see the program: the very first scene of the show included two high school children sitting in their car at school engaged in oral sex. Mr. Otis, this program aired during the family hour of 8:00 pm, 7:00 pm Central Time. We are grateful to you and to this corporation for your responsible, family-positive business decision not to sponsor that program.
“So again, Chairman Otis, our message to you today is one of appreciation. I wish to thank you for what we see is an over-arching commitment to family-quality that extends beyond your restaurants but into our homes through your television advertising practices.”