BBB National Programs Archive


New York, NY – March 6, 2012 –The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc., has recommended that Zuru modify broadcast advertising for the company’s “Shnooks” dolls to better communicate the toys’ capabilities.

Advertising for the products came to the attention of CARU, the children’s advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, through its routine monitoring practices.   The commercial aired during children’s programming.

The commercial depicts two children playing with six soft “Shnooks” dolls. Throughout the commercial, there are shots of the dolls blushing, blinking and smiling. In the closing shot, the dolls’ hair, initially flat, “pops” into dramatic volume.

CARU was concerned that children viewing the advertising might believe that the dolls blink, blush and smile, when they do not do so.

When reviewing advertising directed to children, CARU is sensitive to children’s susceptibilities and vulnerabilities. Further, CARU looks at an advertisement as a whole to determine what messages are conveyed.  Where no consumer perception evidence is supplied, CARU routinely steps into the shoes of the child consumer and uses its experienced judgment to determine the reasonable messages conveyed.

In this case, because no consumer studies were submitted, CARU used its experienced judgment to determine what messages a child could take away from the advertising

Zuru recognizes CARU’s concerns with the referenced television commercial.

In response to CARU’s inquiry,  Zuru said that it has already taken action by making revisions to the commercial to address CARU’s concerns.

“We will not use the earlier version of this television commercial again in the United States.  Zuru has always fully respected and supported CARU’s mission, Core Principles and Guidelines and will continue to follow these when developing our advertising in the future,” the company said.