Movie Mom Overreacts to Movie Billboards
Obviously never having worked in advertising thus having no clue as to the lead times needed to get a movie billboard campaign up and running which usually occurs before the movie is rated, Yahoo's Movie Mom, Nell Minow is accusing studios of placing billboards for R rated movies without the rating thereby, she claims, attracting interest in the movie by kids too young to watch the movie. Aside from the fact that ratings, when they do appear on a billboard, are unreadable at driving speeds, Minow seems to have forgotten the Mom part of her title. As far as we know, the parent is the one makes the determination whether or not their child will see a movie if the rating, which is always available upon release date, is not within their comfort zone.
Plus, since when does having the rating displayed stop a kid from being interested in a particular movie?
Didn't you know that kids do EVERYTHING they are asked to do? They always follow the rules. At least my kids do.
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Thanks for including my comments on your blog! But let me set the record straight. I have worked in advertising -- one of my first jobs was at Foote, Cone in Chicago. And the signs we are talking about are not just billboards, driven by so quickly that no one can see what the rating is. They are also on bus shelters, subways, and many other places where people sit and stare. It seems disingenuous to me to say that advertisers are willing to spend a lot of money on ads and then to say that they don't expect people to look at them. The most significant statistic is that of the "not yet rated" posters, the overwhelming majority turn out to get R-ratings. The PG-13's somehow get submitted in time to have the rating on the poster. So yes, I do think the studios cynically manipulate the loophole. And yes, under-17's are more intrigued by R rated movies than by PG-13's. They are teenagers and they will always want what is supposed to be off limits to them. But that's another story. And so is the viability and legitimacy of the rating system all together. The story here is that the studios are supposed to have the movie's rating in the ad, and they get around it by intentionally holding the films for last-minute review by the ratings board. Not as big a sin as, say, releasing some of the films, but nevertheless, both cynical and exploitive.