Fuhu, Maker of Child-Directed Tablet, Voluntarily Discontinues Certain Claims; NAD Recommends Additional Modifications

New York, NY – Nov. 3,  2014 – Fuhu, Inc., maker of the child-directed “Nabi Jr.” tablet, has voluntarily agreed to permanently discontinue certain product superiority claims following an inquiry by the National Advertising Division. NAD has further recommended that the advertiser modify claims related to its TRUSTe certification and “Kid Safe” seal.

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

The advertising at issue was challenged by LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., maker of the “LeapPad Ultra” child-directed tablets. LeapFrog argued that a comparative chart published at the advertiser’s website expressly claimed superior:

  • “Longevity of Usage.”
  • “Ease of Use.”
  • “Durability.”
  • “Speed.”
  • “Battery Life.”
  •  “Touch Screen Responsiveness.”
  • “Storage and Expandability (Micro SD).”
  • “Adaptive Learning.”
  • “Level of Engagement.”
  • “Reports on Progress and Trouble Spots.”
  • Ability to “Customize with Accessories.”
  • Delivery of Superior “Level of Self-Motivation.”

Also at issue were claims related to Fuhu’s compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, its use of a certification offered by the TRUSTe organization, and execution of Fuhu’s own “KidSafe” seal.

NAD noted in its decision that Fuhu did not provide any substantiation for many of its comparative superiority claims and, where support was offered, Fuhu stated that such support could not be considered “conclusive substantiation.”  Instead, Fuhu voluntarily and permanently discontinued the challenged product comparison chart and express claims, actions NAD deemed necessary.

Although NAD disagreed with the challenger’s position that the product comparison chart was misleading because it implied that the Nabi Jr. and LeapPad Ultra tablets have been objectively assessed by a third-party, NAD did caution that in future advertising Fuhu should provide adequate substantiation for all express and implied advertising claims.

NAD noted in its decision that Fuhu voluntarily modified the claim that Nabi Jr. is “the first COPPA Compliant tablet” to instead state “We are the first tablets certified COPPA compliant” and “We are the first tablet to receive TRUSTe certification for COPPA compliance,” modifications which NAD deemed necessary.

With regard to Fuhu’s claim that TRUSTe certification signified “A level of trust that has NEVER been given to a tablet!” NAD shared the challenger’s concern at the implication that by virtue of TRUSTe certification, the Nabi Jr. tablet provides a higher level of protection to children than the LeapPad Ultra or any other tablet.

Although, as NAD noted, a company must comply with COPPA in order to participate in TRUSTe’s safe-harbor program, TRUSTe certification does not mean that a company has achieved a higher level of compliance than that required under federal law.  NAD recommended that the claim that TRUSTe certification signifies “A level of trust that has NEVER been given to a tablet!” be discontinued.

During the course of this proceeding Fuhu revised its website, including the appearance of the web page displaying its “Kid Safe” seal.  The seal featured the phrases “Kid Safe” and “COPPA Compliant” and, as NAD determined, could convey a broader message regarding the overall safety of the device than is supported by the evidence in the record. NAD recommended that Fuhu discontinue its use of the unqualified claim “Kid Safe” on its seal.

Fuhu, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “understands its obligations to provide adequate substantiation for all express and implied advertising claims, and it will take NAD’s recommendations and guidance into account in the future when advertising its innovative products.  Moreover, although Fuhu respectfully disagrees with some of the NAD’s conclusions regarding certain claims currently on its website, Fuhu will take the NAD’s recommendations into account by modifying the existing claims to address the concerns raised by the NAD.”