26-04-2001

"Aggressive Ads Target Children" is today's headline story in the business daily HOSPODARSKE NOVINY, which says that Czech advertising agencies are using increasingly aggressive tactics to sell products to children. The paper lists campaigns such as the infamous Fidorka ad - in which a young girl is taunted by a woman eating a Fidorka chocolate bar in a car. The little girl bangs on the roof of a car, setting off an airbag and immobilising the female driver. With the driver trapped, she plucks the Fidorka from her outstretched hand.

But it's not just Czech products which are under fire, says HOSPODARSKE NOVINY. The massively popular Pokemon cartoon series acts as a very unsubtle form of advertising for the wealth of Pokemon cards, stickers and toys on sale, says the paper. "Adverts have a much deeper impact on children, because they're far more sensitive to them," says one psychologist. "Ads which target children are far more likely to succeed," he adds.

In the end of course, says HOSPODARSKE NOVINY, it's the parents who end up paying. "When the Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles were all the rage, my kids would only drink their tea out of Mutant Turtle mugs," says MP Katerina Dostalova. And proof that some advertisers are taking their campaigns for children's products to incredible lengths comes in the form of a photo of an All Nippon Airlines 747 - which has been plastered with larger than life pictures of Pikachu, Ash, Misty and all the other Pokemon critters, on sale now at a toy shop near you.

MLADA FRONTA DNES stays with the Pokemon craze: the paper reports that so popular are the hundreds of different packs of Pokemon chewing gum and collectors' cards, that many newsagents and newsstands are having to move the pornographic magazines to the back of the counter to make room for Pokemon.

And that's not all, says MLADA FRONTA DNES. The owner of a cinema in the village of Jirkov has withdrawn the new Pokemon feature film, after reading a report on the Japanese cartoon warning of the possible danger to children. "I read one article which said some kid had committed suicide. I also heard about a cinema usherette in Prague who starting feel sick 10 minutes into the film." he tells the paper.

And the papers are also full today of yesterday's edition of another hugely popular import: the TV game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Well, as LIDOVE NOVINY reports, there are red faces over at TV Nova today, after a contestant won 160,000 crowns despite giving the wrong answer. The contestant was asked the following question: "How many 'dental incisors' does a healthy person have?" - and just for those of you who are feeling a bit slow today, your incisors are the teeth at the front of your mouth.

The contestant didn't know, and phoned a friend. The friend didn't even know that 'incisors' were teeth - the more common Czech word for 'incisors' is 'rezaky', but she guessed four. The contestant still wasn't sure, so she asked the audience. The audience also said four. The host said 'And four is the right answer!' and she won 160,000. But the problem, says LIDOVE NOVINY, is that a healthy human has eight incisors, four at the top, and four at the bottom.

The Czech Dental Association has sent an email to Nova, complaining about the mistake. TV Nova, true to form, has issued a robust defence of their mistake, saying it was down to one of their 'experts' working on the programme. A spokeswoman for Nova says the station is now re-examining its contract with the expert. But the contestant, she said, had the same answer as the computer, and that's what counts. And what happened to the contestant? Well, the buzzer went before she could proceed to the next question, worth 250,000 crowns. You'll have to tune in on Friday to see what happens next, says LIDOVE NOVINY.

26-04-2001