BBB National Programs Archive

CARU Recommends Matel Modify Sweepstakes Website To Better Disclose Free Means Of Entry

New York, NY – August 5, 2010 –The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc., has recommended that Mattel, which operates the Website, modify the site to better disclose the free means of entry to the Barbie Pink Ticket Party Sweepstakes.

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

Upon CARU’s initial review, the homepage of the sweepstakes contained a link entitled, “How to Play.”  When a visitor clicked on the link, she was brought to a page with three boxes listing the steps to play the instant win game.  These included:

“1. Get a Code – There are game pieces inside specially marked Barbie dolls, toys and DVDs.* Each game piece has a code!  Can’t find your code?”

“2. Grab a Parent – Get your mom or dad’s permission and ask one of them to help you register.”

“3. Let’s Play – click to play now to enter your code.”

At the bottom of the three boxes a message, in bright pink, stated, “Good luck!  Keep your fingers crossed!”

Underneath was an asterisk with a message in smaller print that stated, “*No Purchase Necessary to participate in game.  Purchase does not increase your chance of winning.  See Official Rules to learn more.” 

Visitors could read the “Official Rules” by clicking on a hyperlink.

CARU was concerned that the written disclosure did not clearly identify how to enter the sweepstakes without making a purchase.

Upon receiving CARU’s inquiry, the advertiser agreed to make the following changes to the Website:

  • The font size of the disclosure was increased to the size of other type on the page and bolded improve visibility.
  • The disclosure was reworded to further clarify how to enter without a purchase.
  • The Official Rules hyperlink continued to navigate the user to the full details on how to enter without a purchase where a section of the rules was made bold for visibility.


The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said that Mattel “is a long-time supporter of CARU and appreciates the opportunity to participate in the self-regulatory process.  While Mattel believes its initial web disclosures were clear, we welcomed CARU’s input and will continue to take CARU’s concerns into account in future promotions.”