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Should Skechers Cartoon Characters Be Allowed Their Own Nicktoons Show?

by Rich Keller, posted Sep 17th 2010 6:00PM
'Zevo-3' -- Some say entertainment, others say 22-minute Skechers commercial.As has happened so many times in the history of television, a debate has risen up about a new animated series that may or may not be an extended commercial.

This time around it's the new Nitcktoons series 'Zevo-3,' which premieres in October. According to a report at TVBR.com, the children's watchdog group Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood has filed a complaint with the FCC that the show is an extended commercial for Skechers footware. The reason: the stars of the series -- Kewl Breeze, Elastika and Z-Strap, represent various product lines of the company.

As such, the CCFC says the show violates the requirements established by the Children's Television Act. Established in 1990, the Act limits the amount of commercial time in certain children's programming , including product references within the program. Not only that, but the CCFC is contending that the characters on the show are acting as animated spokespeople. All summed up, 'Zevo-3' is a 22-minute commercial.

Of course, Nicktoons and Skechers Entertainment are coming back with claims there's nothing wrong with airing the cartoon. David Bittler, spokesperson for the network, rejected the CCFC's claims, stating that they wouldn't air the show if it even hinted at violating the Children's Television Act. Over at Skechers, 'Zevo-3' co-producer Kristen Van Cott said the show will bring great entertainment to the network while extolling values of self-reliance, friendship, teamwork, and problem-solving.

There is precedence for this type of complaint. Back in 1992, the CCFC successfully stopped a FOX animated series that would have starred Cheetos spokes-cheetah Chester Cheetah. However, that situation and the current dilemma may be quite different. When the Chester Cheetah series was proposed the character had been totally connected to the product for years.

The characters in 'Zevo-3' may not be so attached. Though they've appeared in a few commercials they may not be as closely recognized as animated spokespeople for Skechers; especially since they don't wear the shoes on the series. If what Nicktoons and Skechers Entertainment say is true, the CCFC may be without a case. If the network decides to air Skechers commercials somewhere during the program...well, there's a very good chance the FCC could rule for the CCFC and fine Nicktoons.

Below are samples of 'Zevo-3' and one of the Skechers commercials that inspired the series. After watching, do you feel that Nicktoons is way off base here by airing the show?



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Pete Lawson

Honestly don't see what the fuss is all about. Transformers, He-Man, GI Joe, My Little Pony and Wuzzles, to name just five off the top of my head, were all twenty minute long adverts for toys. It's been going on for years and will continue to do so.

September 19 2010 at 7:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Pete Lawson's comment
Rich Keller

Pete,

I thought of that as well. But, in those cases, the toys weren't actually speaking for themselves. In this case, the CCFC is saying that the characters were animated spokespeople for Skechers; hence, the reason that the cartoon shouldn't be allowed. The Children's Television Act is pretty vague on this subject.

September 19 2010 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard Ott

These characters actually remind me of a video
game that had characters designed similar to them,
and anything that looks like a video game to the
people at Nickelodeon, they'll green light these
projects. Basically, you can't stop some cartoons
or other TV shows from airing on television, even if
some parents are against them. That doesn't mean
just the pilot episodes themselves won't sneak in
there, but after that, they're usually cancelled,
depending on the show's premise, or the ratings.

September 18 2010 at 6:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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