BBB National Programs Archive

CARU Recommends TOMY Modify Broadcast Advertising for ‘Battle Ready Pikachu,’ ‘Trainer Gloves;’ Company Agrees to Do So

New York, NY – March 18,  2015 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit has recommended that TOMY International modify broadcast advertising for Pokémon products to better disclose that its “Trainer Gloves” are not included with the purchase of the “Battle Ready Pikachu” toy.

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

Pokémon Trainer Gloves are motion-activated to make four different sound effects when a child throws a Poké Ball.

CARU noted that the broadcast advertising at issue featured multiple shots of a child wearing the Trainer Gloves while playing with the Battle Ready Pikachu, a Pokémon figure. CARU determined that the message conveyed by the repeated presentation of the products together was that the Trainer Gloves are integral to the play pattern of the Battle Ready Pikachu.

The advertiser argued that omitting the gloves from the island shot at the end of the commercial signaled to viewers that the gloves do not come with the purchase of the Battle Ready Pikachu.

CARU noted, however, that among all the products featured in the final island shot, the Battle Ready Pikachu was the only one presented in a package.  CARU determined that a child could reasonably believe that the Trainer Gloves were included inside this boxed set.

While CARU noted the advertisement contained an audio disclosure that stated, “sets sold separately,” it concluded that the disclosure was not sufficient to remedy the impression that the Trainer Gloves were included with the purchase of the Battle Ready Pikachu toy.  Accordingly, CARU recommended that the advertiser modify its island shot or the commercial to clearly show what is being advertised and what comes with each set.

TOMY, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “accepts the recommendation of CARU and, if the subject commercial is used in the future … will either modify its island shot in the commercial or will otherwise modify the commercial to clearly show what items come with each set.”