In a spectacular victory for CCFC, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MTBA) has agreed to stop advertising explicitly violent video games on its trains and buses. Their decision was in response to a campaign led by CCFC after we spotted ads for the ultra violent, Mature-rated Grand Theft Auto Vice City Stories plastered over MBTA trains.
Our success is a testimony to the strength and diversity of the coalition that joined CCFC in demanding that the MBTA refrain from advertising glorified media violence to Boston's children. More than 60 public health advocates, community leaders and elected officials - including Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino - signed a public letter written by CCFC demanding that the MBTA remove the Grand Theft Auto ads and change its advertising policy.
The MTBA initially balked at our requests, but we insisted that they honor the concerns of the communities they serve - especially those communities currently experiencing an escalation of youth violence. We took our story to the media and were able to get extensive coverage, including a front page spread in the Boston Herald, a favorable editorial in the Boston Globe, and several stories on local TV and radio stations.
Our victory sends a strong message to the videogame industry that they cannot use public institutions to target young people with advertising for media violence. It also sets a precedent for challenging exploitative ads and removing them from publicly funded transit systems. Last weekend, after complaints from several riders, Grand Theft Auto ads were pulled from trains in Portland, Oregon. If you see ads for Grand Theft Auto or any other violent videogame on public space, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more on CCFC's Grand Theft Auto campaign, including media coverage and our letter with its complete list of signatories, please visit http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/pressreleases/mbtatochangepolicy.htm