Why Target Needs to Stop Targeting Kids By Sponsoring “The Mick”
By Melissa Henson
Advertising dollars are the lifeblood of the TV business. It was true in the days of Milton Berle’s “Texaco Star Theater” and it is still true today. It would not be an exaggeration to say that advertisers today are more closely associated with the content they underwrite than they have been in decades. That’s why it’s disappointing to see a family brand like “Target” advertising on The Mick, a show that regularly sexualizes kids depicts them using drugs or alcohol and trivializes violence, even rape.
The Mick debuted on Fox Broadcasting in January, and recently returned for a second season. It has been described as a “shallow exercise in provocation” by the Los Angeles Times. One TV critic wrote, “Once the incessant attempts to offend grow wearisome, there’s not enough here to bring you back for another round… joke after joke relying on the shock value of seeing a child say or do something inappropriate and adults acting irresponsibly.”
Only six episodes into the new season, Target has advertised on five of the six – running multiple ads per episode.
In the last four weeks, America has experienced the tragedy of a mass-shooting, and the entertainment industry has been rocked by countless allegations of sexual impropriety and harassment from within the industry.
Is Target so out of touch with its customers that they would endorse such content by supporting it with its ad dollars? Research has shown time and again that TV can have a lasting impact on children’s attitudes, beliefs, and behavior. Target should immediately reconsider sponsoring The Mick, which continues to intentionally put its child characters into adult situations, and where these same child characters use foul language, engage in sexual talk, and drink alcohol. As a family brand, Target should recognize that kids can be influenced by what they see on TV and the influence of The Mick can only be detrimental.
We’re urging grandparents and parents to express their concerns to Target about its sponsorship of The Mick. You can find more details here: http://www.parentstv.org/actTarget.
Melissa Henson is the program director of the Parents Television Council, a nonpartisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. (www.ParentsTV.org)