BBB National Programs Archive
CARU Recommends JAKKS Modify Broadcast Ad for Mario Kart to Better Disclose Toy’s Capabilities
New York, NY – Jan. 15, 2016 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CARU) has recommended that JAKKS Pacific, Inc., modify television advertising for its Mario Kart 8 Anti-Gravity RC Racer to better disclose that the toy does not make racecar sounds.
CARU is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
The advertising at issue came to CARU’s attention through its routine monitoring practices.
JAKKS Mario Kart 8 Anti-Gravity RC Racer is based on the vehicle featured in the Nintendo Mario Kart game. The 30-second features the racer speeding through a house accompanied by the sound of a revving engine. Following its review of the advertising, CARU determined that one reasonable take away message was that the toy was equipped to make engine noises.
The advertiser noted that an accompanying video super does state: “Sound effects added. Product makes no sound.”
CARU’s guidelines, however, provide that “Copy, sound, and visual presentations should not mislead children about a product or performance characteristics. Such characteristics may include, but are not limited to, speed, method or operation, color, sound, durability… and similar characteristics.” The guidelines also note that advertisers should demonstrate the performance and use of a product in a way that can be duplicated by a child for whom the product is intended.
CARU recommended the advertiser modify the commercial to either eliminate the engine noises or add an audio disclosure.
JAKKS, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “will continue to take CARU’s guidance on this and other matters into account in all of our future advertising.”