BBB National Programs Archive

CARU Refers Advertising For Warner Bros. DVD ‘Superman/Batman: Public Enemies’ To MPAA For Further Review

New York, NY – Nov. 11, 2009 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CARU) has referred broadcast advertising for the DVD “Superman/Batman: Public Enemies” to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for further review.

Television advertising for the DVD came to CARU’s attention through its routine monitoring practices.  The film was rated PG-13 by the MPAA for “action violence throughout and a crude comment.” The commercial for the DVD aired, among other times, on Saturday, September 26, 2009, on CW 4 Kids, during Sonic X at 9:30 a.m.  This raised 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.”

In evaluating whether the content of movie and video games are inappropriate for children CARU look to industry ratings. According to MPAA Advertising guidelines, PG-13 films with certain content may only be advertised to particular audiences. The Advertising Administration works with film companies in targeting ads appropriately; ads for films containing mature content may not be directed toward children. 

Pursuant to an agreement reached with the MPAA, if an advertisement for a film rated PG-13 is inadvertently placed during children’s programming, CARU will ask the advertiser to pull the ad and to make sure the placement does not reoccur. If the advertiser complies, CARU will close its inquiry.  If the placement is intentional, CARU will refer the matter to the MPAA Advertising Administration to determine whether the film is appropriate to be advertised during that time.

The advertiser informed CARU that the commercial was intentionally placed during children’s programming.  CARU is consequently referring this matter to the MPAA for its determination as to whether this PG-13 film should be advertised to children.