Comcast To Broadcast Tons Of Shows With Gun Violence While Banning Ads With Guns
February 22, 2013 by Ben Bullard
The biggest cable company in the United States is all set and ready to sell you some quality entertainment. Whether it’s the self-described “sex-fueled, violent world” of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” Walt White’s bloody survivalism on AMC’s “Breaking Bad” or anonymous crime victims’ gun-shattered lives on NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU,” you can sit for quite a spell while enjoying a fictitious world of prime time hack-‘n’-slash.
But don’t linger through the commercial breaks hoping to learn where you can buy the same kind of pistol Jesse Pinkman used to murder Gale Boetticher in the “Breaking Bad” Season 3 finale.
Fine: Don’t expect the ads to tell you what kind of sweet bird gun Uncle Si totes through the placid Louisiana wetlands on A&E’s “Duck Dynasty.” Because suddenly, Comcast sort of frowns on advertisements that have to do with guns, as well as other things that go “boom.”
When Comcast (finally) took control of NBC Universal last week, it decided — evidently without informing advertisers — to adopt NBC Universal’s policy of not selling advertising time to any company involved in the sale and promotion of firearms or fireworks.
CBS Detroit spoke with a Canadian advertising agency that had tried to renew an ad agreement with Comcast for Michigan-based Williams Gun Sight and Outfitters. The ad was rejected by Comcast, which informed the agency it had stopped accepting firearms ads earlier this month.
The company’s chief operating officer said Williams had spent “a good portion of their advertising” budget with Comcast in the past.
The big guns of outdoor retail – Wal-Mart, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s — have dropped decades’ worth of coin to advertise on specialty cable TV networks, like the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel. According to MSN, the Comcast ban applies only to “commercial time sold by Comcast Spotlight, the advertising-sales division of Comcast Cable that sells local spots on national cable channels.” Translation: some, but not all, hunting and fishing programming will be able to run with gun ads as before.
As in all cases of culture creep, other major entertainment companies have followed each other, in the wake of last December’s Sandy Hook murders, in pulling or limiting gun ads to run on television.
It sounds like now is a great time to be an ad rep for Field & Stream or Garden & Gun.