CARU Finds Commercial That Aired on Disney Channel Was in Compliance with CARU Guidelines

New York, NY – April 21,  2017  – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) has determined that a commercial for Mattel’s “Minnie’s Sparkle n’ Spin Fashion Bow-tique” didn’t contravene CARU’s guidelines on the blurring of advertising and program content.

CARU, an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation, monitors advertising directed to children in all media and across all platforms. CARU is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

The advertising at issue aired on Disney Channel and CARU was initially concerned that the commercial, featuring Minnie Mouse and friends, appeared adjacent to a television program in which the same characters appeared and may present concerns of blurring between advertising and editorial/program content.  Host Selling Rules set by the Federal Communications Commission under the Children’s Television Act of 1990 (CTA) prohibit airing commercial content featuring a character during or adjacent to a children’s program that features the same character.

In response to CARU’s inquiry, Disney Channel noted that the FCC has acknowledged short segment programming as “programming” for purposes of applying general limits to the amount of commercial content that could be aired during children’s programming under the CTA.

In this case, Disney said, the Mattel ad aired after unrelated short-form content – Molang and Big Block SingSong. Both short features were bracketed with five second bumpers at the open and close of the program to further delineate them as program content.  The Mattel commercial  also aired from four to six minutes after the character-related program.

After reviewing the commercial and all of the evidence in the record, CARU determined that in this case, the short-form programming was sufficient to separate commercial material from the related program content.

Disney, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “takes its obligations with respect to children’s programming seriously and is pleased with CARU’s decision.”