CARU Reviews Dannon’s Sweepstakes Advertising

New York, NY – Oct. 25, 2007 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc., has recommended that The Dannon Company Inc., the operator of the www.danimals.com Website, modify advertising for its “High School Musical 2 Sweepstakes” to fully disclose the free means of entry. The company has agreed to do so.

Television advertising for the Dannon Danimals “High School Musical 2” Sweepstakes, marketed by Dannon, came to the attention of CARU through its routine monitoring of advertising directed to children.  The commercial aired during children’s programming.

The commercial opens with a close up of a teenage girl drinking a Danimals yogurt drink.  As the camera pans out to reveal the girl and a teenage boy drinking their Danimals by school lockers, the following announcement is heard over the loudspeaker:

“Attention students.  You can win a chance to host your very own High School Musical 2 movie party.  Brought to you by Dannon Danimals.” 

A voiceover states that the grand prize winner is entitled to host a party for 100 friends with a screening of “High School Musical 2,” along with a visit from stars of the movie, plus a $10,000 college scholarship. It states that “thousands” of first prize winners will get a “High School Musical 2” CD.  At the end of the commercial, a small super appears on screen briefly and a voiceover states: “For details and to see if you’re a winner, you can check specially-marked packs of Dannon Danimals, or ask your parent’s permission to visit danimals.com.  Many will play few will win.” 

CARU was concerned that children might not understand that a free means of entry to the sweepstakes is available through the danimals.com Website or otherwise.

CARU’s Self-Regulatory Program for Children’s Advertising (Guidelines), directs that the free means of entry be clearly disclosed. CARU’s Guidelines also address the prominence and clarity of disclosure language.

During the course of CARU’s inquiry, Dannon agreed to incorporate some additional steps to ensure that children would understand that a free means of entry was available.   Dannon intends to include an audio disclosure containing the statement, “For a free means of entry…,” prior to telling children to go to its Website, as well as a super stating, “For a free means of entry…”  

In its advertiser’s statement, the company noted that it will “take into consideration CARU’s recommendation in this decision in its future advertising.”

In its advertiser’s statement, the company noted that it is a strong supporter of advertising industry self-regulation and will “take into consideration CARU’s recommendation in this decision in its future advertising.”