BBB National Programs Archive

Ontel Discontinues Certain Claims for Dream Tents Following CARU Inquiry

New York, NY – June 8,  2017  – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit has recommended that Ontel Products discontinue broadcast advertising for the company’s “Dream Tents,” to avoid stating that the product helps alleviate childhood fears of the dark and encourages more restful sleep. The company has done so.

CARU, an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation, monitors advertising directed to children in all media and across all platforms.

Television advertising for Dream Tents came to CARU’s attention through CARU’s regular monitoring practices.  The commercial showcased product attributes like the built-in reading light and ease of set up. Upon CARU’s initial review, the commercial also featured a scene showing a young girl coming into her parents’ room at night, accompanied by the following voice-over:

“No parent wants his or her child to be afraid of the dark. Dream Tents are comforting. They can help alleviate fears of the dark and they can promote a restful night’s sleep.”

CARU looks at an advertisement as a whole to determine what messages a child could reasonably take away from viewing it. After determining what those messages are, CARU evaluates the advertiser’s substantiation and decides if it is adequate.

Here, CARU determined that there were two express claims that needed to be substantiated:

  • Dream Tents help alleviate fears of the dark.
  • Dream Tents help promote a restful night’s sleep.

As CARU noted in its decision, it is well established that an advertiser has the initial burden of presenting a reasonable basis for its claims.

In this case, the advertiser did not provide any testing or other evidence to substantiate the express claims made in the commercial.  Therefore, CARU determined that these claims were not substantiated as required by CARU’s guidelines.

CARU recommended that the advertiser discontinue the claims made in the commercial and the advertiser has done so.

Ontel Products, in its advertiser’s statement, said that it thanks CARU “for the opportunity to participate in the extremely important self-regulatory process and shares in CARU’s commitment to assuring the well-being of today’s youth. Despite its continued belief that the examined commercial was not misleading, Ontel agrees to comply with and has complied with CARU’s recommendations regarding the two examined claims.”