BBB National Programs Archive

CARU Recommends PharmaCare Refrain from Advertising ‘Kids Smart’ Vitamins in Child-Directed Programming; Company Agrees to Do So

New York, NY – Aug. 21, 2013, 2013 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit has recommended that PharmaCare US., Inc., the maker of Kids Smart Hi DHA-Omega3 Fish Oil capsules, discontinue advertising the product in programming directed to children.

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

Kids Smart is a berry flavored, chewable fish oil supplement intended for children three and older. Kids Smart packages display cartoon-like purple fish that appeared to be made out of berries.

The advertiser initially contended that the advertising at issue was not directed to children. Further, the advertiser argued that the product did not pose any safety risks.

In determining whether broadcast advertising is directed to children, CARU weighs many factors, including the time of day the ad appeared, the network and the type of program in which the advertising airs.

In this case, CARU’s decision states, the advertising ran during a 4 p.m. episode of “GI Joe Renegades,” on The Hub Network, which features a wide range of children’s programming.

CARU’s attention then turned to the question of whether the product should be advertised during children’s programming.

CARU noted that while it was not concerned that the product would be dangerous to children when used as directed, it was “sensitive to the fact that children, especially those who can not yet read, could mistake this Product for candy and accidentally ingest a harmful amount.”

CARU’s guidelines caution that advertisers “should not advertise products directly to children that pose safety risks to them, i.e., drugs and dietary supplements, alcohol, products labeled, ‘Keep out of the reach of children;’ nor should advertisers targeting children display or knowingly link to pages of Websites that advertise such products.”

The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said it would not run the advertisement on children’s television again.