United States: Miller Nash "Behind" Mickey Rooney Super Bowl Ad Dispute
Last Updated: January 18 2005

Seatte, Washington

In what is being hailed as this year's "wardrobe malfunction," Fox has rejected a 15-second commercial for Airborne Inc.'s natural cold remedy featuring Mickey Rooney's exposed backside proposed for broadcast during the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 6, 2005. The ad, which would cost $1.2 million to run, features Rooney in a sauna, wrapped in a towel. After a sick person coughs, Rooney flees from the sauna and loses his towel exposing his backside. According to press reports, Fox's standards department deemed the commercial inappropriate for broadcast.

Attorneys from the Seattle office of Miller Nash, crafted Carmel-California based Airborne's complaint to the FCC. Valerie du Laney and Adele Conover, who typically handle trademark and media-related matters for Airborne, enlisted David Rice, Miller Nash's FCC expert, to bring Airborne's First Amendment concerns to the FCC. In Rice's letter, he states that "Airborne is disappointed that Fox rejected the ad, which is amusing and appropriate for broadcast during the Super Bowl."

ESPN reported comments by Eric Wright of Joyce Julius & Associates that the Super Bowl nixing the ad will actually generate between 1-4 million dollars in advertising value for Airborne. Airborne co-owner Rider McDowell believes Fox's rejection is somewhat understandable "given the prevailing climate of censorship," but hopes the game's not over yet.

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