A television commercial for Ring Pops, marketed by The Topps Company, Inc., came to the attention of the Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) through its routine monitoring of advertising directed to children. The commercial opens with several children talking to each other and socializing, with another young boy sitting along and looking despondent, with no one to talk to. After finding that his peers do not want to socialize with him, he unwraps a Ring Pop. Instantly, his peers become excited about the product, and cheer him on. CARU was concerned that one reasonable takeaway message children may have after viewing the commercial is that eating Ring Pops will make them popular. The section of CARU's Guidelines entitled "Product Presentations and Claims" states in part: "The presentation should not mislead children about benefits from use of the product. Such benefits may include, but are not limited to, the acquisition of status, popularity…." In reaching its determination, CARU considered that the primary focus of the advertisement was on the young boy and not the candy itself. According to CARU, he seems to be unhappy as he looks around at his peers who are engaged with each other but do not seem to notice him, until he reveals the Ring Pop. Topps stated that it will not air the commercial again in its current form.
TIP: Advertisers should exercise caution when advertising products to children which may suggest or imply that use of the products offers a social benefit.