Channel One Restarts Intrusive Web Ads

May 21, 1999

Children are asked for their name, home address, phone number and age by Channel One advertiser.

Channel One is running this banner ad on their web site.

Channel One has guts. You have to give them that. During the week that the U.S. Senate held its second hearing on Channel One, Channel One brought back very intrusive and irresponsible advertising to its web site (

Jim Metrock, president of Obligation, said, "Channel One had stopped their banner ads on their web site for several months before the U.S. Senate hearings. They didn’t want to get caught doing something dumb. Now with the hearing over, Channel One begins their web assault on children all over again. The first ad Dr. Paul Folkemer (the Channel One executive who gives final approval to all web and TV ads) approved asks children for inappropriate information."

Channel One has been running a benign AdCouncil banner ad that did not link a child to any other site. The M&M ad also doesn’t link to another site but urges children to call a toll-free number (see actual ad above).

This ad is on every page of their site.

Calling the number gets you a tape recording of the new M&M candy character that Channel One students have been pounded with for months. He tells the children to "Press 2 for the rules". Doing that all a child gets is an address to mail a letter requesting the printed rules. Effectively a child will not know the odds of winning or the fine print of the contest. If you don’t press "2", the character asks the child for his or her name – "Please spell your last name."

Then the voice asks for the child’s address and phone number. At the end the child is instructed to tell how old he or she is.

Channel One has come out of the U. S. Senate hearings swinging at children. They obviously think they have little to fear now that the Senate is finished with their hearing.

"Channel One will probably pull this irresponsible ad as soon as they read Obligation’s web site. This is what they have done for years," said Metrock. "We have a copy of their page and the date they ran the ads. There is no end to the recklessness of this marketing company. They have much to fear. The Senate hearing was just the shot across the bow."

"Channel One will once again say they made a mistake," said Metrock. "The Channel One lobbyists will tell worried public officials, educators and parents that Channel One responded quickly and corrected this inappropriate ad on their web site. After years of mistake after mistake after mistake this Primedia company deserves only one thing – a one-way ticket out of the school house."