New York, NY – Dec. 9, 2016 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) has recommended that Moose Toys, maker of the “Selfie Mic”, discontinue advertising claims that imply children under the age of 13 can use all the features associated with the age-gated “Star Maker” app promoted with the Moose product.
The television advertising at issue came to the attention of CARU through CARU’s routine monitoring of advertising directed to children.
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 commercial appeared during programming primarily directed to children and depicted tween-aged children singing a pop song with the Selfie Mic.
Throughout the advertisement an announcer informed the viewing audience:
- It’s easy! Just download the free Star Maker App, attach your smartphone and you are ready to rock.
- You can make your own real music video
- You’ll sound like a star with special audio effects like Auto-Tune and cool filters.
- Choose from thousands of songs made famous by Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Drake, Ariana Grande and many more.
- Then share with your friends with just one tap.
- Selfie Mic works with a free downloadable Starmaker App and comes with everything you see here. Plus you’ll get Starmaker bonus tokens.
On screen, a child was depicted texting her music video to a friend. The words, “Check it out!!!” appeared on the screen.
Following its review, CARU determined that one reasonable take away from the challenged commercial was that users under the age of 13 could save and share videos and download free songs with Selfie Mic and the Star Maker App.
However, users seeking to save videos, share them with friends, redeem bonus tokens for popular songs and purchase songs with the app, are required to share personally identifiable information as part of a registration process. To prevent children under the age of 13 from sharing such information, the app contains an age gate.
CARU noted that that children under the age of 13 could interact with the app and Selfie Mic in a limited way, but determined that the commercial concentrated on and built up excitement for the features younger children could not access.
CARU recommended that the commercial no longer be aired during children’s programming or alternatively that the commercial be modified to accurately depict how children under 13 could realistically use the product.
Moose, in its advertiser’s statement, said that it “appreciates the opportunity to participate in the CARU’s regulatory process and was pleased that CARU recognized its efforts and accepts CARU’s recommendations.”