Moose Toys Discontinues its Fail Fix Dolls Advertising to Comply with Children’s Advertising Review Unit Guidelines on Negative Social Stereotypes
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McLean, VA – August 10, 2022 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), a division of BBB National Programs, has determined that Moose Toys product advertising to children for its Fail Fix Total Makeover Dolls failed to comply with CARU’s Advertising Guidelines, specifically a provision stating that advertising should not portray or encourage negative social stereotyping, prejudice, or discrimination.
CARU recommended that the advertiser modify its advertising, but Moose Toys informed CARU that it has discontinued marketing the dolls and agreed to remove all remaining advertising for them.
This case involved advertising messages in commercials, influencer social media posts, and product packaging that CARU determined to be directed to children under age 13, making them subject to CARU’s Advertising Guidelines. The Fail Fix Doll advertisements in question came to CARU’s attention through its routine monitoring of child-directed advertising in the marketplace.
CARU’s inquiry assessed whether the messaging in the advertisements is likely to propagate negative stereotypes regarding girls’ personal appearance and beauty standards or portray outdated and harmful racial and ethnic stereotypes.
In Moose Toy advertisements and product packaging for Fail Fix Dolls, audio and visual elements depict a distraught animated doll with failed hair and makeup attempts. In commercials, the child plays the role of the “style savior” by transforming the doll from sad and upset to happy and glam. Specifically, the commercial voiceover states, “brush her hair from crazy to cute for the ultimate makeover reveal,” and “you can fix the whole squad.”
The product packaging features messages such as “This faux hawk doesn’t slay – I look CRAZY!” “My dance class starts soon. I can’t move with this tangled mess,” and “Nope. No way. Nuh-uh. I can’t be seen like this!” Both the commercial and product packaging feature dolls that look upset because of their beauty fails and then appear happy when their failed look is “corrected,” with hair and makeup styled to perfection.
CARU determined that these advertisements characterize a girl with imperfect makeup and messy hair as a failure and worthy of public embarrassment, which is likely to perpetuate negative and harmful stereotypes about girls, specifically that they must look perfect to feel good about themselves. According to CARU, these advertising messages place undue pressure on girls to conform to artificial standards of beauty and perfection to see themselves as valued.
In addition, CARU looked at the racial and cultural makeup of the dolls and determined that the characteristics and personalities attributed to each doll were likely to perpetuate racial and cultural stereotypes, rather than promote inclusion. For example, the Kawaii.Qtee doll appears to be an Asian girl who is obsessed with anime, while the Dance.Stylz doll is a black girl who is characterized as a master of “hip hop” dance. The PreppiPosh doll, described as a “hardworking scholar,” has light skin and blond hair.
In response to the CARU inquiry, Moose Toys informed CARU that the Fail Fix Dolls brand is now out of market and confirmed that Moose Toys is no longer distributing or supporting this line of toys through brand marketing. Moose Toys has removed advertising for Fail Fix Dolls from the Moose Toys website and YouTube and is in the process of removing the challenged advertising from other platforms.
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