Ads pulled in media scramble to cover disaster

LONDON - TV stations and newspapers raced to pull advertising and devote resources to news coverage as the horrific events in America unfolded.

ITV broadcast news continually for more than seven hours, cancelling more than 20 ad breaks. Channel 4 ran five-and-a-half hours of news with no ad breaks, while Sky News also held back all spots.

The Guardian pulled all the advertising from its main section, which featured 17 pages of coverage. The Mirror and The Sun dropped all ads from the front half of their papers. However, others stopped short of pulling spots. The Times and The Daily Telegraph both ran ads alongside pictures of the carnage, while the Daily Express ran a Hyundai double-page spread with a reference to flying.

Airlines have pulled their advertising from all media indefinitely, with holiday operators such as Lunn Polly also axing activity.

As the scale of the tragedy became clear, TV sales houses moved to view all scheduled ads and exclude those deemed as inappropriate. A Renault Scenic ad featuring a pilot and air stewardesses was pulled as a result, as was a Persil ad in which a child says he wants to be a pilot and the Red Bull spot showing a cartoon plane with no wings.

Granada, Carlton and Channel 4 are attempting to establish co-ordinated guidelines as to what advertising will be viewed as acceptable over the next few weeks.

Mick Desmond, Granada Broadcasting and Enterprises' managing director, denied that ITV would lose ad revenue as a result of the events. "The minutage lost will be scheduled later in September and October, so there won't be any loss of revenue for the year as a whole," he said.