CARU Recommends Crayola Modify Advertising To Better Disclose What Comes With Initial Purchase

New York, NY – March 30, 2011 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc., has recommended that Crayola, the maker of the “Color Explosion Glow Board,” modify broadcast advertising directed to children to better disclose what items come with the initial purchase.

Advertising for the product came to the attention of CARU, the children’s advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, through CARU’s routine monitoring of advertising directed to children.

The Color Explosion Glow Board is a drawing board that comes with several different-colored markers, stencils, and rubber shapes.  There are also different light settings so that children can watch their drawings change color. 

The advertising at issue featured young children playing with the product. The advertising featured a small disclosure in white type at the bottom of the screen that stated: “Batteries not included.”

CARU questioned whether children understood from the commercial that it was necessary to purchase batteries to use the product.

In response to CARU’s inquiry, the advertiser argued that the advertising at issue was directed to adults who were co-viewing with their children and that the commercial aired in only a small number of slots directed to children under 12.

CARU considered, but was not persuaded by, the advertiser’s argument that the nature of the written disclosure was sufficient because the ad was “clearly mom-based,” and that there were only a small number of slots which could be directed to children under 12. CARU recommended that the advertiser add a separate audio disclosure to inform children that it is necessary to purchase batteries along with the purchase of the product

Crayola, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company disagreed with CARU’s position that “adult-directed advertising necessarily becomes children’s advertising where a portion of the scheduled placements may occur during children’s programming … .”

However, the company said, it will “modify future advertising to include audio statements in accordance with CARU’s decision.”