CARU Targets More Kids Advertising

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The advertising  industry's self-regulatory unit has asked for modifications in a number of TV commercials. They have had a varying degree of success in modifying the ads which are directed toward children.

In the case of a radio-controlled toy from Jakks Pacific CARU, the children's advertising review unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, said the advertisment did not depict adult supervision and thus violated one of its voluntary guidelines. The spot showed boys playing with the toy at "fast speeds" over varoius terrain and in the air.

Jakks agreed to pull the spot and never use it again.

In a case involving Mattel's ad for a doll, CARU said the spot did not "accurately reflect its abilities and performance"--just how easily or not the dolls hand could be moved to its face--and recommended ending or changing the ad. Mattel said the ad had already run its course and that the company had not plans to run it again.

CARU also conceded that its prevoius decisions on "adequate hand manipulation" of dolls to show accurate performance had not set "clear and consistent" guidelines and said it would work on developing them, a announcement which Mattel applauded.

Finally, CARU found that a Lego ad on Cartoon Network had violated its rules because it showed only fantasy footage on the toys--in this case action figures--without "any depiction of the toy or real play."

Legos said it believed the ad was consistent with CARU guidelines. A previous CARU advisory to the company had said that an all-CGI commercial was OK. CARU pointed out that the difference was that the previous commercial was for a Web site that did not sell the toy figures shown in that commercial, while the ad under current review did.

Legos thanked it for the clarification and said only that it would take that into account in future ads.

CARU has no enforcement authority beyond referring complaints to the Federal Trade Commission.

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