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Letter to the Editor: Tasteless television ad

Salt Lake City

Dear Editor,

I recently saw the new Paris Hilton ad on TV. As it was running, my teenaged son walked into the room. Appalled at the ad, I quickly attempted to draw my son's attention away. Too late.

I own a Utah-based advertising agency and I like to push creative limits. In fact, I've often been accused of having no taste or limits. I'd call it soft porn but I've really never seen anything soft about porn. Anyway, this ad ran during prime time, and I guess what bothers me as much as anything is that while I can control what programming my kids view, I can't control the advertising they see because it can appear at any time.

Does advertising reflect society or is it a catalyst for change? Advertising is extremely powerful and good advertising is usually on the forefront of cultural trends. This commercial not only pushes the limits of advertising too far, but it will be a catalyst for societal change. (Unfortunately it's not just this ad. Look at all the deodorant ads that are running now and just this week a condom company announced they are going to push for more prime time network airing of their product ads.)

There is nothing good, nothing creative, and nothing of value about the ad. It cheats. It tries to sell with pure sex when there is nothing sexy about the product, a greasy hamburger. Yes, sex will get everybody's attention, but it doesn't usually increase product sales - which is the real objective of advertising. This kind of advertising is an embarrassment to my industry and to the broadcast stations that air them.

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