BBB National Programs Archive

CARU Recommends Jakks Modify Advertising To More Clearly Disclose What Is Sold With Initial ‘Girl Gourmet’ Purchase

New York, NY – April 21, 2009 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc., has recommended that Jakks Pacific Inc., modify broadcast advertising to better disclose what consumers will receive with the  initial purchase of the Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker.

CARU, the children’s advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, reviews advertising directed to children under the age of 12 to assure that it is truthful, fair and in compliance with the guidelines contained in CARU’s Self-Regulatory Program for Children’s Advertising.

In this case, the advertising at issue featured several young girls making cupcakes with the Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker. A voiceover states: “Introducing the Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker, lots of yummy cupcakes you bake and decorate.  Just pour, mix and bake in your microwave.  Cooks in just 30 seconds.  So fast to make with your cupcake maker: Frost it, then eat it.  Bake, decorate and share with your friends.”

The announcer later states: “Gourmet Girl bakes in your microwave and comes with everything you see here.  Other sets each sold separately.  Ice cream sandwich maker also available.”

CARU questioned whether the referenced commercial adequately disclosed how many cupcake mixes come with each set. The advertiser contended that the commercial clearly displays in an “island” shot four packets of cupcake mix and icing and one packet of sprinkles while an announcer states, “comes with everything you see here.  Other sets each sold separately.” 

In its decision, CARU noted that the island shot was brief, which made it difficult to discern how many packets of mix, icing and toppings were included, while the largest share of the commercial showed dozens of colorful cupcakes. CARU determined that a child viewing the commercial may believe that she need only purchase one cupcake maker set in order to make, if not all the cupcakes depicted, more cupcakes than are included with the set.  Accordingly, CARU recommended that a separate audio disclosure be added to inform children that the set comes with 4 cupcake mixes and additional packets may be purchased separately.

Jakks, in its advertiser’s statement, said the commercial at issue had reached the end of its scheduled run and confirmed that if it ran the advertisement in the future it would include an audio disclosure to convey to children that each set comes with four cupcake packs.