BBB National Programs Archive
CARU Recommends Hampton Direct Modify Advertising for ‘My Fun Fish Tank’ to Better Disclose Material Information
New York, NY – Aug. 12, 2015 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit has recommended that Hampton Direct modify advertising for the company’s “My Fun Fish Tank” to better assure that children understand that water added to the tank must be pre-conditioned and neither too hot nor too cold.
CARU is an investigative unit of the advertising industry system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
Broadcast and website advertising and product packaging for “My Fun Fish Tank,” marketed by Hampton Direct, came to CARU’s attention through routine monitoring.
The advertising at issued featured the tagline “The aquarium that cleans itself. Just add water… .”
However, CARU noted, the product instructions stated the following:
- “We recommend using water conditioner when adding tap water to the aquarium to remove chlorine and heavy metals that are toxic to fish.”
- “Bettas like water temperature between 74-82° F. Let conditioned tap water sit approximately 20 minutes in a pitcher before adding to the aquarium to reduce bubbles present in your new tank setup.”
Following its review, CARU determined that one reasonable takeaway was that ordinary tap water, direct from the faucet, could be used in the tank. In reaching its determination, CARU considered the prominence and the frequency with which the claim, “Just add water…” appeared during the television commercial, coupled with visual images of children and adults pouring water directly into the tank. CARU also considered the lack of disclosures to qualify the claim, namely that water must fall within a specific temperature range and be pre-conditioned.
In this case, CARU determined that the need for water to be of a certain temperature and be pre-conditioned would be material to a child and should be disclosed clearly and in close proximity to the claim.
CARU recommended that the advertiser modify its television commercial, website and package to clearly disclose information concerning necessary water temperature and the need to pre-condition the water.
Hampton Direct, in its advertiser’s statement, noted that while it respectfully disagreed with CARU’s findings, it would take CARU’s decision into account in future advertising.