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TV's 'Wonderland' loses advertisers due to its content

Concern about the content of ABC's new "Wonderland" has caused two advertisers to pull out, and more dropouts may be on the way.

Scotts Co. has opted out of advertising on "Wonderland" following complaints by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. Scotts, which ran a 30-second spot for its Miracle-Gro product during the March 30 premiere, had planned up to four more commercials this spring.

AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, which makes depression and schizophrenia drugs, last week became the first advertiser to publicly say it would not support the show.

Johnson & Johnson and Warner-Lambert Co., which advertised on the premiere but not the second episode, may also sit the show out, said Laurie Flynn, NAMI's executive director. A J&J spokesman said the company has not made a commitment one way or the other; calls to W-L were not immediately returned. Both companies market drugs that treat mental illness.

NAMI objected to depictions of violence, including suicide, on the show, set in a New York psychiatric hospital.

"We received quite a few phone calls, e-mails and letters from people who told dramatic stories of schizophrenia...in one case, from a person who had a child who committed suicide as a result," said Lee Reichart, VP-advertising for Scotts. "After hearing all that, we decided this wasn't a place for the Scotts Co. to put its advertising money." The issue is particularly delicate for Scotts because pesticides can be a method of suicide.

Scotts, like some other show advertisers, bought the Thursday night time slot during last year's upfront and did not buy "Wonderland" directly. However, advertisers were sent screening tapes by ABC prior to the premiere. An ABC spokeswoman said the show is sold out.


David Goetzl, Wayne Friedman, Advertising Age. April 10, 2000.

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