Television Program Content Policies and Procedures

March 26, 2002

Program Content Policy

It is Unilever's policy to avoid participating in program episodes which exploit excessive or gratuitous violence or sexuality, which demean or denigrate any religion, race, sex or which are otherwise lacking in good taste.

  • Unilever U.S. and its consumer products companies, intend that all television programs in which its commercials appear shall be in good taste, consistent with our role as a responsible corporate citizen
  • We recognize that responsibility for the content and quality of television programs properly lies with the networks and those who supply programming to them
  • As advertisers, we have neither the right nor the authority to act as censors by attempting to dictate or control program content
  • However, we do have a responsibility for selecting the specific programs in which our commercial messages appear
Primetime Program Content Review Procedures

Unilever System

  • Every primetime television program is pre-screened by an outside company (AIS) for program content concerns
  • Concerns are brought to the attention of the buying operations
  • Any issues raised by AIS must result in a formal review by the buying agency
  • UNUS Media is involved when the buying operation needs our decision for marginal calls
  • We will maintain quarterly reports on content problems and decisions

All programs will be graded according to five key areas

1. Violence

  • # of violent incidents
  • Severity
  • context -- integral/gratuitous

2. Sexual Content

  • Depiction of sexual situations
  • Graphic/Implied
  • Use of Nudity

3. Harsh Language

  • Broadcast standards typically enforced
  • Context and frequency a major factor for marginal situations

4. Controversial Subject Matter

  • Abortion, aids, homosexuality, child abuse, rape , racial situations
  • Severity
  • context -- integral/gratuitous

5. Anti-Religious Themes

  • Portrayal of religion, religious characters and morality relies heavily on context

Applying Judgment

Grading is applied to each of the five content areas. For example, gratuitous violence will rate out to a "10" while kung fu violence will rate out to an "8".

Once each area is graded, where applicable, an incident factor is applied.

The Incident Factor

The incident factor provides a way to reflect the greater impact of multiple occurrences within an episode

  • x1.0 = A singular or minimal # of incidents which serves to establish the story line
  • x1.2 = A few incidents within the program which provides the image of continuous content concerns
  • x1.4 = Consistently a occurring throughout the program

Time Period Adjustment

  • After the incident factor is applied a time period adjustment is factored
  • Recognizes the relative concentration of adults vs. children in the viewing audience
  • Later time periods receive adjustments which soften the grading

Program Start Adjustment to Grading

  • 8:00/8:30pm -- 100
  • 9:00/9:30pm -- 85
  • 10:00/10:30pm -- 70

Program Grade Action to be Taken

  • Under 8.9 Minimal problems with content OK to schedule without UNUS Media's approval
  • 9.0 - 12.9 Some problem with content -- must be discussed with UNUS Media prior to scheduling
  • 13.0 - 16.9 Potential content problem -- Must be reviewed and screened by UNUS Media prior to scheduling
  • 17.0+ Major content problem -- no Unilever brands will be scheduled
Beyond Content Screening

Program content procedures are necessary, but somewhat passive
Unilever also taking a more proactive stance: Family Friendly Programming Forum

Family Friendly Programming Forum

  • 48 member companies taking positive steps to encourage the number of family friendly choices on TV
  • Focus is on family viewing hour(s) 8pm - 10pm
  • Group co-chaired by Andrea Alstrup of J&J, and Brad Simmons of Unilever
  • Subset of 13 member companies form the script development fund, but all companies contribute to the effort
  • All but one network currently utilizing the fund for FFP script development
  • Early successes with WB network -- Gilmore Girls and Raising Dad

"Unilever, Television Program Content Policies & Procedures." Brad Simmons, VP, Media Services, Unilever. ANA Corporate Communications Committee Meeting, 03/26/02.