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Ad Group Pushing For Family TV Selects Walmart CMO Stephen Quinn To Lead

Ad consortium founded in 1998 has long pushed for less risque programming

The chief marketing officer of Walmart, the giant retailer that has sponsored a handful of splashy family-friendly productions on NBC,  will now lead a group of blue-chip advertisers devoted to the genre.

Stephen Quinn, CMO of  the Bentonville, Arkansas, company, was named  chairman of the Association of National Advertisers’ Alliance for Family Entertainment, a consortium of major marketers interested in the development of more content adults and children can enjoy together.

Since its 1998 founding as the Forum for Responsible Advertisers, the group has helped bring such shows to air as the WB’s “Gilmore Girls”; “NBC’s “Chuck”; and NBC’s “Friday Night Lights.” The consortium’s roster has over the years included such sponsors as Allstate Insurance Company, IBM Corp.,  AT&T Inc., Campbell Soup Company, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Kellogg Co., Unilever  and Home Depot, among others.

Walmart has recently made an aggressive bid to bring more family-friendly programming to TV.  Last week, the company helped sponsor NBC’s live airing of “The Sound of Music” with five 30-second ads that included songs from the famous play.  Each spot was timed to air just after the song accompanying its pitch was  sung in the show.  In 2010, the retailer and Procter & Gamble joined with NBC to create a TV movie, “Secrets of the Mountain,” that aimed to offer an alternative to what the advertisers viewed as an increase in risqué fare on the boob tube After “Mountain” ran in April, a  similar effort, “The Jensen Project,” aired in July of that year. Broadcasts of the films featured both ads from each company as well as placements of their products and logos in the content itself.

“The advertising community has consistently demonstrated that it will support family content because it’s good for business,” said Quinn, in a prepared statement. “Family brands need smart, sophisticated family content to succeed. Yet there continues to be an insufficient supply of programming to meet family advertising needs.  The AFE hopes to change that.  I am committed to this initiative and will be reaching out to my colleagues in the coming weeks to share our vision.”

The group’s research found that families remain the largest viewing group, accounting for 58 %of all viewers, and that advertising effectiveness can rise more than 30% when seen in appropriate family programming.  The consortium has also determined that 65% of viewers hold advertisers accountable for the programming in which their ads run.

in close proximity to the moment in the program that featured the tune

in 1998, the AFE has helped bring to air more than 20 TV hits, including Gilmore GirlsChuckand Friday Night Lights, promoted broadcast network family shows across group members’ proprietary social channels, and worked with television executives to discover and add more family programming into the development pipeline.  Earlier this year the group expanded its efforts into the digital arena with a groundbreaking content partnership with YouTube.  It also created the hugely successful annual Search for America’s Newest Scriptwriter contest, the nation’s only competition for non-union storytellers, in a revolutionary new model between brands and content creators with Will Smith, James Lassiter and their production company Overbrook Entertainment.

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