Parents Urge Supermarket to Shelve On-Shelf TV Ads, Petition Food Lion to Pull the Plug on Planned 3GTv Test Run

Date of Release: 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 13, 2010
Contact: Shara Drew (617-896-9368; shara (at) commercialfreechildhood.org)
For Immediate Release

Parents Urge Supermarket to Shelve On-Shelf TV Ads,
Petition Food Lion to Pull the Plug on Planned 3GTv Test Run

BOSTON -- October 13 -- “No TV ads on grocery store shelves.” That’s the message parents are sending Food Lion supermarkets.  The grocery chain is planning a test run of 3GTv, a controversial new marketing scheme that airs commercials on mini-televisions attached to grocery store shelves -- right next to the product being advertised.  This fall, Food Lion and Automated Media Services will conduct a trial of 3GTv in several of Food Lion’s Bloom supermarkets in Maryland and Virginia.  A successful test run is likely to have nation-wide consequences, spurring other grocery stores to follow suit. In a petition delivered today to Carol Herndon, Chief Administrative Officer of Delhaize America (Food Lion’s parent company), nearly 1,700 parents urged Food Lion to shelve its on-shelf commercials.

"When screen-based advertising invades the public sphere, even the most vigilant parents can't protect children from it," said CCFC's Director, Dr. Susan Linn. "It's time to challenge the notion that marketers have a right to fill every nook and cranny of our lives with televisions and blaring commercials.  If we don't stop 3GTv now, families around the country will be forced to run a gauntlet of TV advertising in every aisle of every supermarket."

Automated Media Services, the company that developed 3GTv Networks, has commissioned Bradley University to evaluate costumer reactions to the on-shelf ads.  But early reviews suggest that parents are not at all happy with this latest commercial intrusion and will avoid shopping at Food Lion stores that install 3GTv.  Their concerns include:

Parents do not want their children exposed to screens while they shop.

“Having TV screens all over the grocery stores undermines my parenting!  You simply cannot avoid the presence of television!”  Samantha Penrose, Urbana, IL

Parents do not want their families accosted by ads in a supermarket.

“People have a right to go about their daily lives without being subjected to constant advertising everywhere they go.” Candice Zawoiski, Pittsburgh, PA

“Regardless of whether or not you will cancel this plan because it is the "right" thing to do, I trust you will quickly realize it is an idiotic move from a "bottom line" perspective: you can expect it would result in widespread boycotts and permanent and substantial damage to your brand's reputation…” Leo Shapiro, College Park, MD

For parents who shop with their children, supermarket ads undermine their role as gatekeepers.
“I would never bring my children into a store with screen ads. Using them is akin to pulling aside a child and saying, ‘Wouldn't you like your mommy to buy you this (probably sugary and unhealthy processed) item’ right in front of the parent. You probably would not allow employees to do that, so why let a screen? It is insulting and manipulative behavior.” Diane Miller, Ithaca, NY

“Parents need to be supported and not distracted from their role in their children's lives. Please take away TV advertising from your grocery store. I will choose not to be a patron of Food Lion if I feel my role as parent is diminished while trying to keep my family healthy.” Carissa Cox, Irmo, SC

It is unfair to use 3GTv to target young children and particularly harmful if the products advertised are unhealthy.
"You guys [Food Lion and Automated Media Services] ought to be ashamed of yourselves. The Federal Trade Commission decided 30 years ago that kids under the age of 7 are psychologically defenseless against advertising. And with the current epidemic of childhood obesity, you're going to advertise fatty foods? Give me a break! Get a conscience!" Vic Strasburger, M.D., Albuquerque, NM

Added Dr. Linn, “Being a parent is challenging enough, without having companies like Food Lion and 3GTv use on-shelf television to turn grocery shopping into a nagging nightmare.  We hope that Food Lion will listen to parents, and nip this exploitive advertising in the bud.”

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