Children’s Advertising Review Unit Recommends Moose Toys Include Disclosures and Adult Supervision in Gotta Go Turdle Ads; Company Agrees to Comply
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McLean, VA – March 16, 2022 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of BBB National Programs recommended that Moose Toys modify its television and YouTube advertisements promoting the Little Live Pets Gotta Go Turdle, as well as the product’s packaging, to include clear and conspicuous disclosures that children should not eat the purple aqua-sand Turdle food.
CARU also recommended that future advertisements depict adult supervision whenever a child is shown playing with the toy. Moose Toys has informed CARU that the ad is no longer running on television, that they are taking steps to ensure the ad has been completely removed from YouTube, and that it will not run in the current format again.
Identified during CARU’s routine monitoring program of child-directed content, the Gotta Go Turdle advertisement, which appeared during children’s TV programming and on YouTube, features young children excitedly feeding the potty-trained electronic turtle colorful aqua-sand and then watching him make a purple poop in his toilet.
In reviewing the visual and audio elements of the commercial, CARU determined that the overall net impression of the ad could reasonably convey to young children that the Turdle food is real food they can eat. Watching the ad, children also may want to experiment with the Turdle food to make purple poops of their own. CARU recommended that the ads be modified to include clear and conspicuous audio and visual disclosures, in language children can understand, that children should not eat the Turdle food. CARU’s Advertising Guidelines state that in ads with audio and video components, disclosures made in both audio and video are more likely to be noticed by children and most likely to be effective.
CARU also determined that the ad failed to depict adult supervision of children playing with the Turdle. Because no adult was shown in the ad, a reasonable takeaway is that adult supervision is not required when playing with the Gotta Go Turdle. CARU determined that, given the risks associated with eating the Turdle food, adult supervision should be depicted in the commercial.
In fact, the instruction pamphlet that comes with the toy states that Turdle food contains no edible content and advises “do not eat.” A safety data sheet produced by Moose Toys, which is not distributed within the toy packaging, indicates that the main ingredient of the Turdle food is silicon dioxide (vitreous silica). If this product gets in the eye, there is a risk of mild irritation. If ingested, there is a risk of nausea and abdominal discomfort. If a large quantity is ingested, this aqua-sand can pose a risk of choking or gastrointestinal obstruction.
CARU determined that the toy’s packaging does not adequately disclose that children should not eat the Turdle food. Instead, it contains only a small warning that the toy is not intended for children under three years old because of a “choking hazard due to small parts.” It is unlikely that children or parents would understand that warning to mean it is the Turdle food that presents the choking risk. Given the child audience for this product and the risks involved in ingesting the Turdle food, CARU stated that a disclosure to not eat the Turdle food must be clearly and conspicuously made on the package as well.
In its advertiser’s statement noting that the spot is no longer running, nor will it run in its current format again, Moose Toys said it agreed to comply with CARU’s recommendations.
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.
About Children’s Advertising Review Unit: The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), a division of BBB National Programs and the nation’s first Safe Harbor Program under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), helps companies comply with laws and guidelines that protect children from deceptive or inappropriate advertising and ensure that, in an online environment, children's data is collected and handled responsibly. When advertising or data collection practices are misleading, inappropriate, or inconsistent with laws and guidelines, CARU seeks change through the voluntary cooperation of companies and where relevant, enforcement action.
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