P&G; Pulls Ads From Boston Station Over Critical TV Spot

From Associated Press

Procter & Gamble Co. pulled $1 million of advertising from a television station that had run ads saying coffee made by the company brews “misery, destruction and death” in El Salvador.

The 30-second spots were bought by a group that advocates a boycott of Folgers coffee because it includes Salvadoran beans, said Sy Yanoff, president and general manager of WHDH-TV.

The group, Neighbor to Neighbor, paid $1,000 for each of two spots on Wednesday and Thursday, and the advertisements were cleared with the station’s lawyers, he said.

"(The ad) met our commercial and good-taste standards,” Yanoff said Thursday.


Don Tassone, a spokesman for Procter & Gamble, said the spots “disparaged” Folgers coffee. “It’s advocacy advertising, and we’re surprised that any television station is willing to run that type of ad,” he said.

The Boston Globe said WHDH was the only station in the country to run the ad, which is narrated by actor Ed Asner, a critic of U.S. aid to the Salvadoran government.

“If you want peace in El Salvador, tell Congress to stop our massive military handouts and tell your supermarket that you refuse to buy Folgers, which uses coffee grown in El Salvador. Boycott Folgers coffee--what it brews is misery, destruction and death,” Asner says in the ad.

“It’s misleading and it’s grossly inaccurate,” Tassone said. “This ad singles out Folgers even though virtually every U.S. brand contains some Salvadoran coffee.”

Yanoff said Procter & Gamble at first told him they would pull only their ads for Folgers coffee, but the station was told Thursday the firm would pull all its advertising, worth $70,000 for June and about $1 million for the year.