CARU Refers Advertising for Marvel Entertainment’s ‘Thor’ to MPAA for Further Review

New York, NY – July 28, 2011 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc., has referred broadcast advertising for the film “Thor” to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for further review.

 Television advertising for the film came to the attention of CARU, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, though CARU’s routine monitoring practices. The commercial was a co-promotion with Burger King for its Kids Meal. The film is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) “for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence” and advertising for the film aired during children’s programming, raising concerns regarding the appropriateness of advertising a film rated PG-13 to children.

 CARU’s Self-Regulatory Program for Children’s Advertising states in part that advertisers “should take care to assure that only age appropriate videos, films and interactive software are advertised to children, and if an industry rating system applies to the product, the rating label is prominently displayed.”

 In evaluating whether the content of movie and video games is inappropriate for children, CARU looks to industry ratings. According to MPAA Advertising guidelines, PG-13 films with certain content may only be advertised to particular audiences. The Advertising Administration works with film companies in targeting ads appropriately; ads for films containing mature content may not be directed toward children. 

Pursuant to an agreement reached with the MPAA, if an advertisement for a film rated PG-13 was inadvertently placed during children’s programming, CARU will ask the advertiser to pull the ad and to make sure the placement does not reoccur. If the advertiser complies, CARU will close its inquiry.  If the placement was intentional, CARU will refer the matter to the MPAA Advertising Administration to determine whether the film is appropriate to be advertised during that time.

 The advertiser informed CARU that the commercial was intentionally placed during children’s programming. CARU is consequently referring this matter to the MPAA for further review.