Target Canada Ads Upset Mr. Rogers Fans

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Target stores in Canada started opening this month, but the ad campaign for the new chain stores has many upset.

The music in the ads is a cover version of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” the popular theme song from the children’s TV show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Fred Rogers is a beloved icon for Pittsburgh. A bronze statue of Rogers sits outside of Heinz Field on the North Shore.

The ad first aired last month during the Academy Awards, and since then, some Pittsburghers have been voicing their displeasure with the Fred Rogers Company for licensing the song.

The Globe and Mail reports that the Target ad campaign is the first time that the Fred Rogers Company has licensed commercial use of the theme song.

Point Park University advertising professor Bob O’gara likes the new commercial.  In today’s market, he says, advertising dollars are needed to help the Fred Rogers Company achieve a higher purpose.

“The advocacy programs that they have, the kinds of things that they’re working with to keep that whole spirit alive, that’s money,” O’Gara says. “That’s money that’s going to fund some great programs.  So no downside at all.”

In a February article, William Isler, president of Fred Rogers Co, reportedly told them “when we were first approached by Target, we immediately felt very comfortable with the respect they had for Fred and his legacy. That is paramount to us.”

Comments have been popping up all over the internet about the commercial. One commenter said, “The first time I saw the ad, I was filled with rage. Fred Rogers would have done whatever it took to prevent this from happening.”

The Target ad called “Can’t Wait To Meet You Neighbour” has been viewed more than 71,000 times on YouTube, and has hundreds of comments.

What do you think about the ad, sound off in the comments below, or on the KDKA Facebook Page.

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