BBB National Programs Archive

CARU Recommends Cepia Modify Broadcast Advertising for ‘Kung Zhu Pets Battling Hamster”

New York, NY – March 29, 2011 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc., has recommended that Cepia LLC, modify broadcast advertising for “Kung Zhu Pets Battling Hamsters” and related products to more clearly disclose which items come the initial purchase.

The advertising at issue came to the attention of CARU, the children’s advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, though CARU’s routine monitoring of advertising directed to children. 

Kung Zhu Battling Hamsters, are a collection of motorized furry hamsters, sold separately or in sets of four.  The Hamsters, docile at the outset, can be “powered up” into “battle mode” by either successful completing a play-set obstacle course or by interacting with a plastic “Tablet of Zhu.”

Once swiped across a Tablet, each Hamster makes new unique sounds related to its battle mode. Each Tablet is sold with an Armor set and each of Armor is intended for use with a particular hamster, although Armor s interchangeable and may be worn by any Hamster.

Play-sets including the Samurai Training Ground-Boulder-Push/Draw Bridge Agility Course, Ninja Training Ground, Kung Zu Missile Attack Tower, and Battle Arena offer the Hamsters a setting to duke it out Hamster to Hamster.  Each play-set is sold separately and does not include a Hamster or a Battle Armor-Tablet.

CARU noted in its decision that island shots are generally included in broadcast advertising to clearly demonstrate which products come with the initial purchase. In this case, the island shot depicted the entire Kung Zhu product line.

While the commercial included an audio disclosure stating that “…Heroes, Battle Armor Vehicles and Play-sets Each Sold Separately,” CARU found that this disclosure could not counteract the potential confusion caused by the graphic depictions of the entire product line featured in both the body of the commercial and the commercial’s island shot.

The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said it disagreed with CARU’s findings. “However, we will make every effort to pay special attention going forward on all television production so that we can comply with CARU standards,” the company said.