CARU Reviews Rewards Advertising From Upperdeck.com

New York, NY – July  29,  2008 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc., has recommended that The Upper Deck Company, which operates the Website www.kids.upperdeck.com, modify advertising for the Website’s  rewards program. The company has agreed to do so.

CARU, the children’s advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, reviewed the advertising at issue pursuant to a consumer complaint.  

The Website features information about sports cards, building a card collection, sports memorabilia and various other entertainment properties.

Children can personalize their Website experience and create a profile under the “My Upper Deck” section of the site.  Through a member account, users can earn rewards points by winning quizzes and via on-line redemptions.  Members register the codes from their cards for reward points or tokens, which are redeemable for a variety of prizes or games.  In order for visitors under the age of 13 to gain this level of access, the Website Operator must first obtain verifiable parental consent through a mail-in or fax-in form. 

The consumer complaint focuses on Upper Deck’s accounting of points earned and redeemed by children who visited the site and the availability of advertised merchandise and prizes.

CARU was concerned about whether the advertising presented an accurate and truthful depiction of the prizes, rewards, games and raffles available to users of the Upper Deck Kids Website.

Upon receiving CARU’s inquiry, the company promptly agreed to make the following changes:

Unavailable products will be clearly listed as “out of stock” or “unavailable.”  Although the inventory on the Website is currently manually updated on a weekly basis, the Operator intends to automate its system to list the availability as quickly as possible and minimize human error.   The advertiser stated that the automated portion of the system would be functional by July 2008.

The new system will include a countdown clock for each contest, raffle and game to demonstrate the amount of time left before expiration of the contest.  As soon as the contest, raffle or game has expired, it would immediately be removed from the Website so users would not be able to register or play nor would tokens or points be removed for these activities.

CARU noted in its decision that it appreciates the company’s willingness to make the changes required to bring the Website into compliance with its Guidelines.

The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said it “accepts CARU’s decision in its entirety” and has “modified the advertising” as requested.