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False alarm 'Olympus' movie ad draws $1.9M fine

  • Associated Press
  • March 3, 2014 - 4:35 PM

LOS ANGELES — It turns out that using emergency warning tones in a TV commercial with images of the White House blowing up and the flashing words "THIS IS NOT A TEST" is frowned upon by the government.

The Federal Communications Commission said Monday it was fining three media giants $1.9 million for using the official warning tones in an ad for the movie "Olympus Has Fallen" that had some complainants jumping out of bathtubs and racing to the TV screen.

The companies have 30 days to contest the fines or pay up.

The ad aired 108 times on Viacom Inc. networks like BET and Comedy Central, 38 times on NBCUniversal channels like USA and SyFy and 13 times on The Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN in March 2013.

Viacom said in a statement it "regrets the airing of the advertisement" and is no longer accepting ads that use the signal, which is part of the nationwide Emergency Alert System. ESPN said it is assessing the FCC notice.

© 2014 Star Tribune