Despite an escalating national protest, Duncan Toy refuses to withdraw a controversial television commercial that invites kids to “give us the finger.”

The advertisement depicts 17 young people giving the camera the universal middle finger gesture. Finally, a young man gives the gesture again, but this time he has a yo-yo tied to it.

“Give us the finger and we’ll give you the power,” the announcer states at the end of the 30-second spot.

The American Family Association rallied thousands of members to call Flambeau Products, parent company of Duncan Toy. The cultural watchdog organization asked the maker of the famous Duncan yo-yo line to pull the controversial commercial.

Flambeau president Jason Sauey stated his support for AFA’s goals, but refused to withdraw the commercials, which run on wrestling shows and the MTV cable channel. The company is trying to gain greater market share among the X-generation crowd.

The American Family Association is now taking its protest to the retail outlets that sell Duncan yo-yos.

After being shown a video of the commercial, Toys R Us executive Warren Kornblum immediately discontinued live yo-yo demonstrations at his stores. Kornblum said the 1,500 Toys R Us stores promote good family values and would not want customers to associate the advertisement with his company.

Toys R Us would not “in any way, shape or form endorse that kind of approach to the young people of this country,” said Kornblum.

Tim Wildmon, vice-president of the American Family Association, praised the decision.

“Give us the finger — we’ll give you the power,” says announcer at end of Duncan yo-yo commercial in which 17 young people aggressively “give the finger” to the camera. Duncan insists the commercial teaches kids there is something better they can do with their middle finger — namely, putting a yo-yo on it.

“We do everything we can to celebrate the family and the special relationship between kids and their parents. We are a company that absolutely stands for family values,” added Kornblum.

Randy Sharp, AFA’s special projects director said he was disappointed in Sauey’s refusal to remove the offensive commercial.

“Mr. Sauey said he knows people were offended by the commercial, yet remained defiant in the face of thousands of phone calls and emails from outraged parents. Duncan is betraying the trust of parents all across the nation. By legitimizing the most antagonistic and obscene symbol of our society, Duncan Toys Company is teaching children to insult a common respect for decency and the American value system,” said Sharp.

Sharp is requesting that other major retailers also demonstrate to Sauey that toy sellers do not want their businesses to be associated with the commercial.

Two Duncan yo-yo professionals who appeared in the controversial commercial are now touring the country giving live demonstrations at major stores. The American Family Association has asked Media Play, Zainy Brainy, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart and other stores to cancel the demonstrations and even consider removing the Duncan yo-yos from their shelves.

Toys R Us was the first to respond and the other companies are in the process of evaluating their positions. Flambeau Products manufactures a popular brand of duck, goose and turkey decoys and calls. Sporting goods distributors and hunting organizations also are considering action to withdraw endorsements over the issue.

Meanwhile, Duncan Yo-Yo executives remain firm in their stand.

“We will NEVER cave to those self-righteous prudes,” wrote Duncan Toy executive Charlie Windstrom in an e-mail message.

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