BBB National Programs Archive

CARU Recommends International Playthings Better Disclose Drying Time for ‘Aquabeads’ Product; Company Says it Will Do So

New York, NY –  April 26, 2016  – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit has recommended that International Playthings, the maker of Aquabeads Ultimate Design Studio modify its television advertising to better disclose drying time for the crafting product. The company 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.

Product packaging and television advertising for Aquabeads Ultimate Design Studio, came to CARU’s attention through CARU’s routine monitoring of advertising directed to children.

Following its initial review of advertising for the crafting product, CARU identified two concerns:

  • Whether the product came with enough beads to make all 20 bead creations shown in the island shot
  • Whether the drying time of the Aquabeads creations was depicted accurately

CARU determined that the advertising does adequately disclose what comes with the initial purchase of the product.  The Design Studio comes with a total of 1200 beads, more than enough  to make the 20 bead creations shown in the commercial’s island shot.  Both the island shot and the front of the package clearly depict the product included with the initial purchase.

CARU also determined that the drying time for the product was not accurately depicted. In reaching that conclusion, CARU noted that the commercial made the following audio and video representations:

  • “Spray with water, and the beads magically stick together.”

CARU also considered the advertising copy and visuals on front and back of package, including:

  • “Make” [Visual: a picture of a template with a Deluxe Bead Pen designing a kitten.]
  • “Spray” [Visual: a picture of the Sprayer raining water over the kitten on the template.]
  • “…and they Stay!” [Visual: The finished Kitten is featured dry and standing on its own- the template is gone.]

CARU further noted that the directions state: “Spray the back with water and leave to dry for an hour.  This will strengthen the design.” The instructions also warn: “Do not touch the beads before they dry.”

CARU determined that one reasonable take away message was that the bead creations dried immediately when that is not the case. CARU recommended the advertiser better disclose that designs must have time to dry before they are handled.

In response to CARU’s inquiry, International Playthings said it “agrees with CARU’s findings and has already taken steps to incorporate CARU’s recommendations into future advertising.”