CARU Recommends MilkPEP Modify Child-Directed Advertisement to Meet Safety Guidelines for Children Under 12
For Immediate Release
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs
703.247.9330 / firstname.lastname@example.org
New York, NY – August 12, 2020 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), a division of BBB National Programs, determined that a television advertisement to promote America’s Milk Companies produced by the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board (MilkPep) did not comply with CARU’s safety guidelines. As a result, CARU recommended that MilkPEP discontinue the ad, which appeared during children’s programming, or modify it to include proper representation of safety gear.
Identified during CARU’s routine monitoring program of child-directed content, the advertisement features skateboarders performing advanced tricks without proper safety equipment. CARU’s self-regulatory program sets high standards for the industry to ensure that advertising directed to children is not deceptive, unfair, or inappropriate for its intended audience.
In this advertisement, a professional skateboarder, Bryce Wettstein, is performing tricks in a skate park wearing a helmet and other safety gear as she narrates, “Being on a skateboard is like stepping off the earth. It’s like, all of our individualities coming together, and it makes this big spark. And it inspires the world.”
In other scenes, unidentified skateboarders are performing advanced skateboarding tricks in public areas without helmets or other safety gear. In the final shot, the words, “Milk it” appear on screen.
Throughout the Advertisement, a video super is displayed at the bottom left-hand of the screen which states, “Professional Athletes. Do Not Attempt. Wear a Helmet.”
Skateboarding, which as of this year is an official Olympic sport, is an exciting yet risky sport. A 2016 study published by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, found that about 176 injuries a day were reported of kids aged 5-19 across the country in hospital ER’s for skateboarding-related injuries.
“Children learn from models all around them including on television and other child-targeted media,” said Dona Fraser, senior vice president, Privacy Initiatives. “For brands who want to feature skateboarders in their advertisements that appear in media directed to children, CARU recommends that all athletes, no matter their skill level, must be shown wearing the recommended protective equipment. Written or audio disclosures will simply not suffice.”
MilkPEP stated that after reviewing CARU’s concerns, the CARU Guidelines, and the advertisement it decided to adjust the media plan for the advertisement to target an audience that is 12 and over. MilkPEP noted that it pulled the spot altogether from Nick Junior and Universal Kids.
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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