BBB National Programs Archive

Skechers Modifies Broadcast Advertising in Response to CARU Inquiry

New York, NY – Feb. 12, 2014 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit has recommended that shoemaker Skechers USA modify animated broadcast advertising for the company’s “Air-Mazing” shoes to address compliance with CARU’s guidelines. The company said it has done so.

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

In the advertising at issue, The Air-Mazing kid is seen running through the school with superhero-like speed and agility, outperforming football players, basketball payers and track stars. In one scene, he uses a lunch tray as a skateboard and flies across lunchroom table. In another, defies gravity and flies into a classroom, where he takes his seat between two girls dressed as cheerleaders.

CARU, in its decision, noted that it was “concerned as to whether young children, watching the commercial, might … believe that just by wearing these shoes they would run as fast as and would jump as high as the animated boy shown in the ad. CARU was also concerned with the potential safety ramifications of the representation of the boy skateboarding on the cafeteria tables.”

In its response, the company noted that while it believed the commercial was fully compliant with all CARU guidelines, it had voluntarily stopped airing the commercial and made several edits before airing the commercial in a modified form.

In response to CARU’s inquiry, the company said it voluntarily stopped airing the commercial and then aired the commercial with edits, noted below, to voluntarily address CARU’s concerns regardless of whether Skechers agreed or disagreed with CARU.

Specifically, the advertising copy was changed from: “Air-Mazing shoes new from SKECHERS. Designed for kids who want to run faster, jump higher … Go beyond the amazing to Air-Mazing,” to “Are you a kid who runs fast, jumps high, and plays hard? We have the shoe for you! Why just be UH-mazing when you can be AIR-mazing?”

Further, the company said, it deleted the skateboard scene from the commercial.

“Skechers has great respect for CARU and for the self-regulatory process and accordingly, as noted by CARU in its decision, Skechers agreed to modify and did modify the language in the Air-Mazing television commercial to address CARU’s concerns,” the company said in its advertiser’s statement.