BBB National Programs Archive

CARU Recommends Boys’ Life Magazine Modify Sweepstakes Advertising; BSA Agrees to Do So

New York, NY – Nov. 13, 2013, 2013 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit has recommended that Boys’ Life Magazine, published by Boy Scouts of America, modify advertising for future sweepstakes to better disclose the odds of winning. BSA has agreed to do so.

CARU is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

The advertisement for the Gordon Korman sweepstakes came to the attention of CARU through CARU’s routine monitoring of advertising directed to children.

The BSA stated that the print advertisement at issue directed readers to a webpage where they could enter the sweepstakes to win an autographed copy of Korman’s book, “The Hypnotists.” The BSA noted that the sweepstakes was sponsored by publisher Scholastic and that online entry was the only method of entry offered.

The BSA stated that the likelihood of winning was clearly disclosed on the entry webpage, in a form that matches CARU’s recommended phrasing.

Following its review of the evidence in the record, CARU determined that a child viewing the print advertisement at issue could have an unrealistic expectation of winning the Sweepstakes because, although the website adequately presented the necessary disclosures, the print advertisement itself did not.

BSA, in its advertiser’s statement, said it “agrees to modify its practices so that all Boys’ Life advertisers will be required to include appropriate odds-of-winning disclosures in their print ads.”