BBB National Programs Archive

CARU Recommends JAKKS Pacific Modify Broadcast Advertising to Better Disclose that Dolls Do Not Move on Their Own

New York, NY – June 19, 2013 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit has recommended that JAKKS Pacific, Inc., modify broadcast advertising for the Winx Club Harmonix Dolls to better to disclose to a child audience that the dolls do not move on their own.

CARU is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

A television advertisement for the Winx Club Harmonix Dolls came to the attention of the CARU through CARU’s ongoing monitoring of advertising directed to children.

To avoid misleading children, CARU stated in its decision, commercials for toys that do not move on their own, but that are depicted as moving, should clearly and conspicuously demonstrate how the toys are made to move. The demonstration should be of sufficient length and clarity that children viewing the commercial take away a clear understanding of how the toy operates in the real world during real play.

In this case, CARU noted the overall minimal use of hand movement throughout the commercial. For the majority of the advertisement, there were no hands or fingers shown, although there were several shots where the dolls appear to move independently, including turning their heads from side to side and standing without visible support.
Accordingly, CARU recommended that the advertiser include more shots of visible hand manipulation to avoid a misleading impression that the dolls can move and stand on their own.

JAKKS, in its advertiser’s statement, said that “while it believed hand manipulation was present, it appreciated CARU’s requests that more hands should be visible.”

The company said that the spot has been discontinued, but if it is run again, the company will implement changes to assure that hand manipulation is more prominent.