Nine months after TLC canceled 19 Kids and Counting in the wake of Josh Duggar's molestation scandal and backlash from consumers and advertisers, the Duggars returned with a brand-new series on March 15, Jill & Jessa: Counting On.
But In Touch has exclusively learned that seven brands whose ads appeared during Counting On were surprised — and not happy — to learn that their spots ran during the show.
· Cici's Pizza: A rep for the chain says, “Cici’s prides itself on being a family-friendly restaurant. We recently made a large advertising buy on cable television that spanned several networks but did not target any particular program. When we learned one of our ads was placed adjacent to controversial programming, we took immediate action to stop it.”
· The UPS Store: The company explains it made a large media buy as well.
“It was not our intention to advertise on the program. This specific program is [now] on our list of exclusions as well as any other potential Duggar programming,” says a rep.
· Verizon Wireless: A rep says the company made a “direct response buy, which means we did not have control over where the advertisement ran. We never intended to advertise on the program or on TLC.”
· Pure Michigan: The state’s tourism arm also wants nothing to do with the Duggars.
“The Pure Michigan ads were not supposed to air during this program, and we were disappointed to hear that they had,” a rep confirms. “We contacted TLC immediately after learning about this mistake, and have been assured no Pure Michigan ads will run on this program moving forward. The Counting On program does not meet our brand guidelines.”
· Whitewave Foods: The brand has pulled its Silk Milk ads after one episode.
“We have decided to no longer advertise during this show moving forward. We are always listening to our consumers, whether it be to continuously enhance our products or carefully choose where to advertise.”
· Choice Hotels: The company removed its advertising from 19 Kids and was unhappy to learn one of its ads ran during Counting On.
“We are not a sponsor or an advertiser on any TV shows or specials about the Duggars,” Choice Hotels says. “If any ads run, it is an error of the network as our advertising agency has directed them to remove our advertising from the show.”
· Mattress Firm: “After learning that we had two ads run during the premiere of the new TLC show Jill & Jessa: Counting On, we have instructed TLC not to air any future paid units during this show,” says Casey Zuber, director of communications for Mattress Firm.
Media expert David Johnson, CEO of Strategic Visions, says TLC is going to have a tough time getting advertisers for Counting On.
“The Duggars are radioactive right now,” he says. “People will see that this new show is just a desperate ploy by the Duggars to reclaim the spotlight and hopefully make some dollars off the public.”
For more updates on the Duggar family, pick up the latest issue of In Touch, on newsstands now!