BBB National Programs Archive

CARU Recommends JAKKS Modify Broadcast Ad for ‘Sky High Tink’ Toy

New York, NY – Oct. 8, 2014  – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit has recommended that JAKKS Pacific Inc., modify broadcast advertising for the company’s “Disney Fairies Sky High Tink” to more accurately demonstrate the toy’s capabilities.

CARU is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. CARU, which is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, monitors advertising to children in all media and examines websites and apps for compliance with CARU’s Self-Regulatory Program for Children’s Advertising, a set of guidelines for all child-directed advertising and privacy practices.

Advertising for Sky High Tink came to the attention of the CARU through CARU’s routine monitoring of advertising directed to children.

The toy launches from a hand-held base through use of a pull string. The 15-second commercial opened with a shot of the toy, equipped with two small lights, rising slowly at an angle, set to the following song:

“Light-Up Sky High Tink, you can make her fly sky high! Little, full of magic sparkling in the sky. Light-up fairies up to ten feet high—that’s high! Every fairy friend now lights up in the sky!”

The toy continued to spin amid animated lights and the fairy’s skirt appeared to glow. A video disclosure in small, white print at the bottom of the screen read: “Lighting Feature Enhanced to Show Detail.”

In the next shot, two toys were launched into the air, where they slowly spun and appeared to float. A final voiceover stated: “Sky high! Tink sparkles when she flies!” CARU noted in its decision that the combination of the lighting effects and language used could lead a child to believe that the toy could glow and sparkle as shown.

Following its own test of the product, CARU observed that the toy emitted only a small amount of light when launched, barely noticeable in both natural daylight and in a well-lit room, and there were no other sparkling or glowing effects. Further, CARU noted that the toy is shown throughout the commercial slowly spinning through the air. In its own test, CARU observed that the toy almost immediately fell to the ground.

JAKKS argued that the special lighting effects were used to better illustrate the product’s functionality, which otherwise may not have been seen by viewers. JAKKS maintained that although it did not believe children would be misled by the special effects, it included a written disclaimer at the bottom of the screen, which stated, “Lighting Feature Enhanced to Show Detail.”

Further, the company said, slow motion shots of the toy in the air, taken in context with the balance of the commercial, clearly and fairly illustrated the toy’s performance.

CARU determined that the commercial did not comply with CARU’s guidelines because a child viewing the advertising could reasonably believe that the toy can glow, sparkle and float slowly through the air as depicted in the commercial, when, in fact, it cannot.

CARU recommended that the advertiser remove the special effects to give a more accurate depiction of the toy’s capabilities.

JAKKS, in its advertiser’s statement, said that while it disagreed with CARU’s findings, it “will cease running this advertisement immediately and has no plans to run it in the future. As always, we will continue to develop and refine our commercial development review process which seeks to follow CARU’s Core Principles and the Guidelines. We respect and appreciate CARU’s guidance and efforts related to this particular commercial, and we will continue to take CARU’s guidance on this and other matters into account in all of our future advertising.”