Some new ads are targeting your teenager, but would you believe they're just selling shoes?

Thursday, August 12th 2004, 5:16 pm
By: News On 6

Back to school ads are everywhere right now and it's no secret that they are becoming more provocative each year. One shoe company's fall ads are creating a controversy.

Some groups say the ads denigrate women in general and women professionals, specifically. News on 6 anchor Lori Fullbright has the story.

The new print ads feature pop star Christina Aguilera posing as a naughty and nice nurse, school teacher and police officer. The ads say they are selling Skecher shoes, but one conservative family group says the real product these ads are selling is sex and the marketing it directly aimed at young people.

The American Family Association's website says "In essence, Skechers is making a mockery of professional women and chooses to portray them as sex objects. The Association urges members to write letters and boycott the company until the ads are removed.

The Center for Nursing Advocacy has launched its own letter writing campaign and says nearly a thousand nurses sent protest letters in just a few days. The group says the ads are especially harmful at a time when America is in its worst nursing shortage in decades. The group's form letter to Skechers says in part, "Depicting North America's three million registered nurses as female sex objects suggest that nursing work consists primarily of satisfying the sexual needs of physicians and patients. Such images discourage men and self-respecting, talented women from entering the profession.”

As a woman police officer and a mom, Tulsa Police Sergeant Kim Presley believes the ads send the wrong message. "It's hard to recruit women on this department with this type of imagery out there and as a mom; it's something I don't want my daughter to see." Sgt Presley says she feels so strongly about the ads, she won't be buying Skechers products.

The ads are in Canada and Europe right now, but these groups want to make sure they don't come here.

Lori Fullbright called the Skechers headquarters in California several times Thursday, but got no response. The Oklahoma Education Association told the News on 6 it's concerned anytime a business denigrates teachers or women in order to turn a profit.