BBB National Programs Archive

The Walt Disney Company

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Challenger:                 Children’s Advertising Review Unit

Product Type:              Movie/Media

Issues:                         Inappropriate Content

Disposition:                 Referral to MPAA

Basis of Inquiry:

Television advertising for the film “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” (“Pirates”) came to CARU’s attention through its routine monitoring practices.  The commercial for “Pirates,” rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for “for intense sequences of action/adventure violence, some frightening images, sensuality and innuendo”[1] aired, among other times, on May 17, 2011 on Avatar: The Last Air Bender on NickToons at 7p.m.   This raised concerns regarding the appropriateness of advertising a film rated PG-13 to children.

CARU’s Guidelines:

The “Core Principles” section of CARU’s Guidelines states, in part,

5. Products and content inappropriate for children should not be advertised directly to them.

Additionally, section (i) of the General Guidelines, entitled “Unsafe and Inappropriate Advertising to Children,” reads, in pertinent part:

2(a) 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.

Referral to MPAA

Pursuant to an agreement reached with the MPAA, if an advertisement for a film rated PG-13 was 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 was 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 whether this PG-13 film should be advertised to children.  (#5350 PBS, referred to MPAA 07/11/2011)