BBB National Programs Archive

CARU Refers Advertising for ‘Iron Man 3’ MPAA for Review

New York, NY – June 18, 2013 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit referred advertising for “Iron Man 3” – rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America – to the MPAA for review.

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

Broadcast advertising for “Iron Man 3,” rated PG-13 for “sci-fi action violence, and brief suggestive content” aired on the program “SpongeBob,” on Nick East at 6 p.m., raising concerns regarding the appropriateness of advertising a film rated PG-13 to children.

CARU’s Self-Regulatory Program for Children’s Advertising states in part that advertisers “should take care to assure that only age appropriate videos, films and interactive software are advertised to children, and if an industry rating system applies to the product, the rating label is prominently displayed.”

Under the terms of a referral agreement entered into with the MPAA, if CARU finds an advertisement for a film rated PG-13, R or NC-17 in any medium primarily directed to children under 12, CARU will refer the matter to the MPAA Advertising Administration to determine whether the film is appropriate to be advertised to children.
In this case, the MPAA said that:

“The MPAA Advertising Administration approves advertising for rated motion pictures on a case-by-case basis, taking various factors into consideration, including not only the rating of the motion picture but its content, the content of the programming with which it will be placed and the time of day in which the ad will be run. The PG-13 rating is a strong caution to parents that they should investigate the motion picture before taking their young children; it does not mean the motion picture is inappropriate for children under 13.

“Indeed, the determination is best left to parents, who best know and understand the sensitivities of their children. Generally, a few PG-13 rated motion pictures are considered by the Advertising Administration to be compatible with children’s programs, based on the content of the movie, the advertisement and the program with which the advertisements are placed. In the case of the TV spots at issue for “Iron Man 3,” none of which contained strong depictions of violence or sexuality, the Advertising Administration determined that they were appropriate for the program on which they aired.

“The voluntary rating system established by the MPAA over 40 years ago is intended to provide parents with advance information about movies, so that they can make informed decisions on what they allow their children to see or not see. The Advertising Administration further supports the goal in evaluating advertising for the audience that will be viewing it. We believe those goals were met in this instance and do not believe and further action is necessary in this matter.”