ABC will not air advertising for 20th Century Fox’s first animated feature, Anastasia, during Sunday’s Wonderful World of Disney program.
ABC, which is owned by Disney, will also not air any commercials during that program from Burger King and other Fox partners whose ads show scenes from the movie.
A spokesperson at ABC says that the decision was made not to limit competitive advertising, but to protect the Disney brand and to prevent confusion among viewers who might misconstrue Anastasia as a Disney product.
The policy does not extend to other day parts, such as prime time and Saturday mornings. Anastasia will be a major sponsor of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, set to run on ABC in November. That program will feature a special choreographed ice dance to one of the songs from the Fox movie during a break in the competition.
It is not unprecedented for ABC to disallow certain types of advertising during specific program blocks. For example, it does not air ads for R-rated movies or alcohol during its family-friendly TGIF Friday night block.
ABC says that it hasn’t completely banned ads for all features from rival studios during Wonderful World of Disney, but will judge each situation on a case-by-case basis.
A spokesperson at Fox says that the studio has no plans to prevent Disney from running ads for its films during any time period on the Fox network.
Anastasia opens November 21, wedged between two Disney family films: a re-release of The Little Mermaid (launching November 14) and the live-action Flubber, starring Robin Williams (November 26).