Thursday, October 04, 2007

Wendy's Ad Generates Complaints


NEW YORK (Associated Press) - Hamburger chain Wendy's International Inc. is getting complaints that its TV commercial showing floating customers who apparently inhaled helium sends the wrong message to children about inhalants.
The ad shows customers standing next to a pressurized tank talking in high-pitched voices and floating to the ceiling. "Filling up with just anything, that's wrong," says the ad, which began airing a few weeeks ago.
Wendy's spokesman Bob Bertini said Wednesday the company has taken a small number of calls and no plans to pull the ad.
Bertini said the ad clearly depicts an absurd scene. "It's a situation that is not real because people don't float on the ceiling," he said.
Harvey Weiss, director of the National Inhalant Prevention Council, a Texas-based organization that works to discourage the practice of "huffing" inhalants to get high, said the ad can give kids "inappropriate ideas."
"Kids get the idea it's OK to put a gas in your body," Weiss said.
Inhaling helium is not as dangerous as other gases, but it can be hazardous if inhaled from a tank.
About 20 people contacted Weiss to complain about the ad, including a woman in Pennsylvania whose son died from inhalants and a safety prevention officer who works with police in Michigan.
The organization has since sent an advisory to about 10,000 people and asked them to contact Wendy's, based in this Columbus suburb.
Other companies have pulled ads in the past that made reference to inhalants, Weiss said. "It seems like every couple of years I see something like this," he said.
FedEx Corp. pulled a commercial that debuted during the Super Bowl in 2000 after receiving complaints that it may give youngsters the impression that it was OK to "huff" inhalants.
Taken from CNNMoney.com