BBB National Programs Archive

CARU Recommends Pokemon Modify Broadcast Ad To Better Disclose Products Included With Initial Purchase; Company Agrees To Do So

New York – July 27, 2011 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that The Pokemon Company International modify broadcast advertising for the Black & White Trading Card Game to better disclose which products come with the initial purchase. The advertiser has done so.

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.

Pokemon’s Black & White Trading Card Game is similar to the original Pokemon Trading Card Game.  The cards are sold in packs; each represents a character with different powers and values and cards are worth more than others.

In the advertising at issue, an announcer stated that the game features

“70 new Pokemon” characters and more than “110 cards.” As the announcer said “110 cards,” an array of cards flashed across the screen.

The final shot in the commercial displayed a split screen, half black and half white, with two packs of cards on either side.  A brief audio voiceover at the end of the commercial stated, “Each booster pack of 10 cards, sold separately.  Cards vary by pack.” The audio disclosure was accompanied by a small written disclosure on the bottom of the screen stating the same.

Following its initial review, CARU questioned whether the written and audio disclosures were adequate.

In response to CARU’s inquiry, the advertiser stated that it immediately instructed that the ad be pulled from circulation and asserted that it would improve the quality, duration and volume of the audio disclosure and increase the text size of the written disclosure.

Pokemon, in its advertiser’s statement, said “[W]e appreciate CARU’s careful consideration of the issues raised in this matter and accept CARU’s decision. We ceased airing the commercial in question immediately upon receiving notification from CARU that it had concerns and reworked it to make sure those concerns were addressed. We will take CARU’s guidelines into account for all future advertising.”