BBB National Programs Archive

Playmates Discontinues Spot Featuring Supervised Stunts in Response to CARU Inquiry

New York, NY – Nov. 14, 2014  – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit has recommended that Playmates Toys, Inc., discontinue television advertising for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Action Accessories that features potentially dangerous stunts performed by children.

CARU is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation.  It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The advertising came to the attention of CARU through CARU’s routine monitoring of advertising directed to children. The commercial aired during children’s programming.

The 15-second commercial opened with four young boys, each wearing a different TMNT mask and carrying that signature weapon. In the course of the commercial, one boy does a cartwheel, one does a series of backflips and one runs up the trunk of a tree, launching into a backflip. A visual super appears on the bottom of the screen in small, white writing that stated: “Supervised stunt. Do not attempt.”

CARU was concerned that children viewing the advertisement might seek to imitate the stunts performed in the commercial without regard to risk.

In response to CARU’s inquiry letter, Playmates stated that while it believed that the commercial was fantasy-focused, it was sensitive to CARU’s concern that children would find the actions appealing and potentially imitable.

The advertiser informed CARU that the commercial was pulled and the flight for the spot terminated. Further, Playmates said it would factor CARU’s feedback into its future advertising,  thanked CARU for bringing this matter to its attention and stated that it takes its responsibility to children with the utmost seriousness.