Posted: Sep 22, 2010 8:44 PM by Alison Haynes
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federal Communications Commission is
looking into complaints that a new television show based on
characters first created to market Skechers shoes to kids would
violate government rules that limit advertising in children's
The FCC is seeking public comment on a petition filed last week
by the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood seeking to block
the cartoon series "Zevo-3," which premieres on the cable network
Nicktoons on Oct. 11. It stars three superheroes from comic books
and TV commercials promoting Skechers.
The Boston-based group says the program would violate a
requirement in federal law that cable companies air no more than 12
minutes of commercial material per hour of children's programming,
and FCC rules mandating a separation between commercial content and
In its petition, the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood
argued that the cartoon should be considered an advertisement for
Skechers footwear because its three superheroes - Kewl Breeze,
Elastika, and Z-Strap, who battle the evil Dr. Stankfoot.- promote
specific lines of shoes.
"For children, the characters . embody the shoe lines they
represent, so much so that retailers report that kids often refer
to the shoes by character name rather than by the shoe model," the
Josh Golin, associate director of the Campaign for a
Commercial-Free Childhood, welcomed the FCC inquiry.
"This would be the first children's television program based on
advertising icons and as such, the entire program would be an ad,"
he said, noting that the cartoon could "open the floodgate for
shows starring Ronald McDonald, Tony the Tiger and all the other
Nicktoons, owned by Viacom Inc., said in a statement that it
does not believe "Zevo-3" is a program-length commercial or that
it would violate advertising rules.
Skechers had no immediate comment Wednesday. The company said
last week that it is "tremendously proud of 'Zevo-3,"' and
described the cartoon as "a fun, action-packed and beautifully