CARU Reviews CEC Chuck E Cheese ‘Golden Ticket’ Promotion, Recommends Company Revise Disclosures in Broadcast, Website Advertising

New York, NY – Aug. 25,  2016  – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) has recommended that CEC Entertainment revise disclosures associated with its Chuck E Cheese “Golden Ticket” promotion in television and website advertising. The company has agreed to comply with CARU’s recommendations.

CARU is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

CARU monitors advertising directed to children and online services for compliance with CARU’s Self-Regulatory Program for Children’s Advertising, including guidelines on Online Privacy Protection, as well as with the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

Broadcast advertising for the promotion featured a child celebrating a birthday in the “Ticket Blaster” attraction at a Chuck E Cheese restaurant. The Ticket Blaster is an enclosed wind chamber where a large number of tickets, redeemable for prizes, is released and a child is encouraged to grab as many as he or she can within a time limit. The commercial depicts the “birthday boy” grabbing a “Golden Winning Ticket,” and a close-up shot of the ticket, which states:

“Chuck E Cheese’s

GOLDEN TICKET

Instant Win Game

YOU WON”

The voiceover states: “Now every Ticket Blaster has a Golden Ticket.  Catch it and win.  Win incredible prizes like a Dell Promo Gift Card Worth $250.00.”

The promotion was prominently featured at the center of the website’s home page, in a strong purple font against a bright white circle, with the following language: “Win a $250 Promo Card from Dell, Pizza Party, Tickets and More!” Below, in smaller type, was the following: “Limited time only or while supplies last.  Only available to the birthday boy or girl at a reserved Party to be eligible.  Promo Card from Dell expires 90 Days from Issuance.”

In this case, CARU first had to determine whether the television advertising adequately disclosed the free means of entry. CARU determined that the use of a video super alone to disclose a free method of entry did not comply with its guidelines on material disclosures and sweepstakes.

Further, CARU was concerned that the commercial’s focus on the $250.00 Dell Gift Card gave children the impression that they had a better chance to win this high level prize than was actually the case.

CARU noted that, on the website, the free means of entry was not featured on the Sweepstake invitation page. CARU determined that the advertising did not comply with CARU’s guidelines concerning such disclosures.

CARU recommended that the advertiser modify the television commercial to include an audio disclosure to inform children about the free means of entry and the likelihood of winning.

Regarding the website, CARU further recommended that the advertiser insert a disclosure clarifying the free means of entry that is clear and proximate to, and in the same format as the invitation language.

CEC, in its advertiser’s statement, said that in new broadcast advertising concerning the Golden Ticket, the company “will include a form of the audio disclosure as requested by CARU in addition to the conspicuous visual.”  The company also agreed to revise the disclosure currently displayed on its website.”