BBB National Programs Archive

CARU Recommends Innovation First More Clearly Disclose Information Material To Child Consumers; Company Agrees To Do So

New York, NY – Sept.  20, 2010 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc., has determined that broadcast advertising for Innovation First Labs, Inc.’s “Hexbug Nanos” did not adequately disclose which items are included with the initial purchase of the product.

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

The Hexbug Nano is a small “battery powered robot,” that moves quickly on 12 rubber legs. Nanos are available in many colors.

The advertising at issue featured shots of children playing with multiple Nanos. In one shot, hundreds of vibrating Nanos were shown clustered together, as the voiceover stated “swarming now at Target.” A disclosure at the bottom of screen stated “each sold separately.”

CARU questioned whether the written disclosure, absent an accompanying audio disclosure, was adequate to alert child consumers that each Nano is sold separately.

CARU concluded that the advertising at issue could lead child consumers to believe that they would receive multiple Nanos with their initial purchase, although that is not the case. CARU recommended that the advertiser add a separate audio disclosure to inform children that the  Nanos were each sold separately. 

CARU noted in its decision that it has routinely held that an audio voiceover should accompany a written disclosure in advertisements directed to children because younger children may not be able to read or otherwise understand a written disclosure.

Innovation First, in its advertiser’s statement, said it “supports the self-regulatory process, has agreed with CARU to include audio disclosures in future airings of the subject advertisement and will continue to take CARU’s guidelines into consideration in future commercials.”