Children’s Advertising Review Unit Recommends IMC Toys Include “Non-Edible” Disclosure in Cry Babies Magic Tears Tutti Frutti Doll Advertisement
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New York, NY – May 27, 2021 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of BBB National Programs recommended that IMC Toys USA Inc. modify its television advertisement promoting the Cry Babies Magic Tears Tutti Frutti doll to include a clear and conspicuous disclosure that children should not consume the jell-like substance produced by the doll.
CARU also recommended that future advertisements not refer to the tears as jelly. IMC Toys has informed CARU that the ad is no longer running and that it will not run in the current format again.
Identified during CARU’s routine monitoring program of child-directed content, the Tutti Frutti doll advertisement features several dolls dressed to look and smell like fruit that when squeezed produced colorful jelly-like tears.
In reviewing the television spot, CARU determined that the advertisement could reasonably convey to children that a fruit-themed doll that cried colorful jelly-like tears could be edible. In making that determination, CARU considered the overall net impression the ad conveyed, including the visual and audio elements of the commercial and the visual aspects of the packaging.
In the commercial, a child sniffs the doll while small watermelons float around the doll. The tears are frequently referred to throughout the commercial as “jelly,” a term commonly used to describe fruit preserves. The packaging also shows colorful tears falling from the doll’s eyes into the bowl accessory. The tears that are shown in the ad are in different colors that correspond to the fruit design of each doll. For example, the strawberry doll cries pink tears.
CARU noted that a small video disclosure in the ad states, “fun to squeeze, not to eat.” However, CARU determined that the small fleeting disclosure at the bottom of the screen was not prominent and could not be understood by young viewers who often cannot read well enough to understand such messages.
In its advertiser’s statement noting that the spot is no longer running, nor will it run its current format again, IMC Toys said it agreed to comply with CARU’s recommendations.
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About the 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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