CARU Refers Toy Quest Advertising to FTC for Further Review

Advertiser Declines to Accept CARU Recommendations

New York, NY – April 27,  2012 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit has recommended that Toy Quest, maker of the “Land Sea Adventure” inflatable swimming pool, modify product packaging to depict adult supervision. The company, which participated in CARU’s review of its packaging, declined to accept the recommendation. CARU has referred the matter to the Federal Trade Commission for further review.

CARU is an investigative arm of the advertising industry’s self-regulatory system and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

Upon its initial review, CARU noted that the front of the product package featured four young children playing in an inflatable pool with an inflated whale-shaped slide attached. The box depicted two children sitting inside the water filled pool.  This depiction of the pool showed enough interior space to accommodate two or three additional children comfortably.  Additionally, one child was shown sliding down the slide while another approached the slide.  The product dimensions were listed as 88 inches by 65 inches for the pool including the slide and 22 inches for the height of the slide.

A warning on the front of the package stated, “Closely watch children who are in or near this pool.”  No adults were present in the scene depicted on the package.

CARU was concerned that the packaging did not adequately depict the size of the pool and did not depict adult supervision.

In response to CARU’s inquiry, the advertiser asserted that it had modified product packaging before it received CARU’s opening letter. The modified packaging featured fewer children in or near the pool and carried a safety checklist that states:  “Competent adult setup and supervision is required at all times.” The package does not depict adult supervision.

CARU accepted the advertiser’s assertion that the packaging was modified in advance of CARU’s inquiry and administratively closed that portion of its review dealing with depiction of the pool’s size and capacity.

However, while the company said it disagreed with CARU’s findings regarding the depiction of adult supervision, it did not agree to further modify the packaging at issue or appeal CARU’s decision. As a result, CARU has referred the matter to the FTC for further review.