BBB National Programs Archive

CARU Recommends Leapfrog Modify Advertising To More Clearly Disclose What Comes With Initial Purchase; Company Agrees To Do So

New York – March 4, 2011 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that LeapFrog modify broadcast advertising for the “Leapster2 Explorer” to more clearly disclose to child viewers the items that come with the initial purchase of the product.

Advertising for the product came to the attention of CARU, the children’s advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, through CARU’s routine monitoring of advertising directed to children.  

The Explorer is a portable, handheld game system on which children can learn school skills through a variety of games. The console is pre-loaded with two games, “Dragons to the Rescue,” and “Creativity Castle Art Studio,” and can connect online to download extra activities and applications.  Additional games must be purchased. Batteries are required and are not included.

CARU, in its initial inquiry, questioned whether the written and audio disclosures featured in the 15-second commercial were adequate.

The advertising at issue original featured a young boy playing “Toy Story 3” on his Leapster2 Explorer. The “Toy Story 3” game was featured prominently during the commercial and the boy specifically described how to play the game and what he learned from it. The commercial did not describe the actual toy or the games provided with initial purchase. The commercial further reinforces the value of “Toy Story 3” in a voiceover that states: “With our widest variety of games like “Toy Story 3…”

The commercial featured a written disclosure that appeared on screen for approximately four seconds and stated: “Leapster Explorer products sold separately. Actual Leapster products may vary. Batteries not included. Internet connection required.”

The commercial included a brief audio disclosure: “Leapster Explorer, with our widest variety of games like “Toy Story 3” and downloadable apps, you can discover something new everyday. Ask … Products and batteries each sold separately.”

Following its review of the advertising at issue, CARU determined that neither the written nor the audio disclosure were adequate to provide young children with material information.

LeapFrog, in response to CARU’s inquiry, agreed to modify its advertising with the following audio disclosure: “Each game and app sold separately.  Internet connection required. Batteries not included.”

The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said it is “pleased that CARU has determined that its current, revised television spots are clear.  LeapFrog appreciates CARU’s attention to this matter and its important efforts to promote self-regulation.”