BBB National Programs Archive

CARU Refers Broadcast Advertising for PG-13-Rated ‘Ghostbusters’ to MPAA for Further Review

New York, NY – Aug. 19, 2016 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit has referred advertising for the film “Ghostbusters” to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)  for further 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 “Ghostbusters” aired during the program “Teen Titans Go” at 6 p.m. The film has been rated PG-13 by MPAA for “supernatural action and some crude humor.”

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 response to CARU’s referral, the MPAA said: “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 is run.

“In the case of Ghostbusters, which is a comedic/sci-fi motion picture, placed on ‘Teen Titans Go,’ which includes animated action sequences, and taking into consideration the TV ads themselves, all of which were humorous and lighthearted in nature and none of which contained strong scary or intense imagery, the Advertising Administration determined that the placement was appropriate for the program on which it 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,” the MPAA added.