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'Offensive' Teen Pregnancy Ad Yanked from USA Today

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Does it offend you?

The Candie's Foundation's "America, Wake Up" PSA campaign to prevent teenage pregnancy was due to run as a full-page advertisement in today's USA Today. On Friday afternoon, the publication rejected the ad after much discussion about their desire to avoid offending their readers.

USA Today began by explaining that it did not want to offend its readers and subsequently changed and re-changed its position until ultimately rejecting the PSA late Friday afternoon claiming they downsized the paper and "could not accommodate the ad."

The Candie's Foundation debuted the new campaign in honor of October being "Let's Talk" month, that encourages parents to speak with kids about sex and teen pregnancy.

Neil Cole, founder of The Candie's Foundation, stated, "This is very disappointing. We are trying to get across an important message about the devastating consequences of teen pregnancy and one of the key publications to reach parents and families is USA Today. The fact that they deem this PSA as offensive further drives home the key problem that the media is not addressing this issue."

candies foundation print ad

The print PSA features a call to action for parents to watch the Foundation's "What Are You Doing?" PSA television spot along with their teenagers tonight at 8 p.m. on The CW during the hit show, "Gossip Girl." The goal of the campaign is to act as a conversation starter for parents to talk to their children about teen pregnancy prevention.

Cole added, "We felt like 'Gossip Girl' was the perfect outlet to televise the PSA because its audience is mostly composed of teens and young adults."

The New York Times and New York Post ran the PSA in today's paper.

Do you think USA Today should have yanked the ad?


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27 comments so far | Post a comment now
Heather October 27, 2008, 1:50 PM

What was so bad about that?? I think it was stupid that they yanked the ad, what a joke.

DeAnna Nelson October 27, 2008, 1:58 PM

I think it is a great ad. I am a Mom of two teenage daughters and any reminder to think first and act second is applauded! But,parents also have to be involved, dont wait until it is too late to talk to your teen about any issue. The scarey part is they usually already know more than we would ever like them to know an early age.


Grace October 27, 2008, 2:03 PM

I wonder who USA Today’s readers are? The pregnant teens? The parents who don’t care? I had thought better of USA Today

Laurie October 27, 2008, 2:19 PM

What is wrong with an ad that serves as a PSA for teen pregnancy? Teen pregnancy is something that touches many people’s lives and happens all the time within all different walks of life. I was a teen parent myself - a long time ago now- and I have a teenage son and an almost teenage daughter. I think that this topic needs to be spoken about. It is also the parent’s responsibility to talk with their children but what is wrong with an ad like this? It may even serve as a reminder for some parents to keep open communication with their child. Shame on USA today for pulling the ad.

Lisa October 27, 2008, 3:12 PM

I have to agree with the other commenters. I find nothing wrong with this ad and there is no reason that USA Today refuses to show it.

Amy October 27, 2008, 3:13 PM

I don’t understand who USA Today is afraid of offending - deadbeat teen dads? The people in the photos (all of whom are unwed teen mothers (or soon to be)?


AK Mom October 27, 2008, 3:51 PM

This ad should be anywhere and everywhere that teens are!

chris October 27, 2008, 5:12 PM

I don’t see what is wrong with this ad. These days we go so far out of our way to be so P.C. that were afraid of saying or doing anything that might offend anybody. I say show this ad everywhere and let teenager see what could happen with unprotected sex.

mary October 27, 2008, 10:44 PM

The video ad is great… love it. The paper ad—I can’t enlarge it to see what it says. I can see where it might be deemed controversial from the picture of Jamie Lynn Spears and the picture of Levi and Bristol on it, but I’m sure the content of the ad minus the pictures, is probably very good and very needed.

Tanya October 28, 2008, 12:39 AM

I am a teenage parent of two and I honestly do not see anything wrong with that. Me, personally i would not get offened. I could care less what other people thing of me! But people do need to realize what comes after not wearing protection. Teens think ist is all fun and games. Ive had a few nights like that but I WOULDNT HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY!!!

Tracy October 28, 2008, 6:54 AM

I thought it was great! I love it. They should reconsider running it. Now the paper ad with Jamie Lynn and Bristol pictured,I’m not sure that they should have used those two for poster kids of teen pregnancy. Even though I don’t condone it,in all fairness Jamie Lynn does earn a living and I highly doubt she’s on welfare like most teen moms are. Both Bristol and Jamie Lynn live different economical backgrounds than the average teen mom.

D Upson October 28, 2008, 7:35 AM

I’m still trying to understand, why USA Today yanked this Ad. I don’t find it offensive in any way…its the TRUTH!!

Lisa S October 28, 2008, 7:41 AM

I say DON’T yank the ad. Every teen planning on not using protection should be required to watch it. USA Today… bring it back…

Tricia A. October 28, 2008, 8:17 AM

I think the ad speaks to everyone in America. We are tax payers (where do you think the welfare money comes from?), we are the family members and friends of teens, we are the community where thousands of kids aren’t getting their highschool diploma or GED, thus, can’t get a livable wage legal job. Teen pregnancy affects every person in America, not just the two people having sex that ends in a pregnancy.

Rose October 28, 2008, 8:45 AM

I’m feeling a bit naughty this morning. That was a great ad but they should have tried to use Sarah Palin and her children instead of the actors they choose.

Gina October 28, 2008, 9:01 AM

I see nothing wrong with either ad. Except their choice in pictures. Now I know using a high profile celeb or daughter of a politician will probably get more attention then using someone who is not. However, I agree with another comment, the people they chose to depict are in another economic class and will not have the financial problems that the people they are trying to reach will face. They should have gone to teen pregnancy clinics and asked if anyone of them wanted to be in a national print add. It would have been more realistic. With the ones that they chose, there are stories of them and their friends shopping at Petite Treasure. How many of us would like to be able to shop there? Using celeb and “rich” people in the add is probably going to be counterproductive because the tabloids glamorize these girls by talking about their (what seems like) nonstop shopping sprees and fancy vacations and pricey homes. It is just not reality. They want to scare the kids into being safe or abstinent, they should use pictures of real people and trailer parks or Section 8 housing and waiting in line at a WIC center for their payments. Don’t use someone who will never have to choose between feeding their child and paying the rent.

momoffour October 28, 2008, 9:39 AM

I think the ad is excellent and should be used. There are more along these lines that could also be made and used about other dangers of teen sex.

Anonymous October 28, 2008, 10:48 AM

this ad was very good
they should add it in every magazine available. i do not see why they can promote super duper skinny girls but are not ok with educational ads.

bonniex3 October 28, 2008, 11:23 AM

That ad is great! A reality check for our kids.. Hello?? WAKE UP! It’s time to cut the strings and slap these kids in the face with what can be. Everyone wants to protect but yanking an ad like that is doing more harm then good. Stop coddling and start talking. The ones you’re worried about offending may be the ones who need to hear the message loud and clear.. JMO

donna October 28, 2008, 12:09 PM

That is the problem in America today … why pull the ad - it needs to be shown and re-shown again. These teens needs constant reminder of their action and consequences. Run the AD now !!!!!


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