CARU Recommends Toys ' R' Us Modify Ad


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New York, NY – Jan. 13, 2010 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CARU) has recommended that Toys “R” Us’ modify advertising for the Home Depot Work Bench with Lights and Sounds to better disclose that the product does not come with batteries and does require some assembly.

CARU, the children’s advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, reviewed broadcast advertising for the product pursuant to CARU’s routine monitoring of advertising directed to children. The advertising at issue featured a young boy playing with a toy “Home Depot” work bench in a garage while he described the accompanying power tools. In the middle of the commercial, a white super appeared at the bottom of the screen, which stated, “Some assembly required. Batteries sold separately.” There was no audio disclosure to accompany the super.

CARU questioned whether the written disclosures in the commercial were adequate to inform children that some assembly was required in order to effectively use the product and that batteries were not included. CARU’s guidelines note that “disclosures should be conspicuous in the advertising format and media used … in television, advertisers should use audio disclosures, unless disclosures in other formats are likely to be seen and understood by the intended audience.”

Following its review, CARU recommended that the advertiser use audio voiceovers to accompany the written disclosures so that young children can understand them. The company, in its advertiser’s statement, noted that it is a “strong supporter of the self-regulatory
process and while for unrelated reasons, we have ceased airing the commercial, we will take CARU’s recommendations into account in future advertising.”

CARU's inquiry was conducted under NAD/CARU/NARB Procedures for the Voluntary Self-Regulation of National Advertising. Details of the initial inquiry, CARU's decision, and the advertiser's response will be included in the next NAD/CARU Case Report.

About Advertising Industry Self-Regulation

The National Advertising Review Council (NARC) was formed in 1971 by the Association of National Advertisers, Inc. (ANA), the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Inc. (AAAA), the American
Advertising Federation, Inc. (AAF), and the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc. (CBBB). Its purpose is to foster truth and accuracy in national advertising through voluntary self-regulation. NARC is the body that establishes the policies and procedures for the CBBB’s National Advertising Division (NAD) and Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), as well as for the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) and Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP).

NAD and CARU are the investigative arms of the advertising industry’s voluntary self-regulation program. Their casework
results from competitive challenges from other advertisers, and also from self-monitoring traditional and new media. The National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appeals body, is a peer group from which ad-hoc panels are selected to adjudicate those cases that are not resolved at the NAD/CARU level. This unique, self-regulatory system is funded entirely by the business community; CARU is financed by the children’s advertising industry, while NAD/NARC/NARB’s sole source of funding is derived from membership fees paid to the CBBB. Funding for ERSP is derived from membership fees paid to the Electronic Retailing Association. For more information about advertising self regulation, please visit
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