The Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU), an industry self-regulatory body, has referred advertisements for three PG-13 rated movies to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for a determination as to whether the films should be advertised to children.
CARU has referred ads for "The Incredible Hulk," "Indiana Jones," and "Get Smart" to the MPAA for review. CARU's guidelines state that advertisers "should take care to assure that only age appropriate videos, films and interactive software are advertised to children."
Ads for "The Incredible Hulk" aired during the Nickelodeon network's "SpongeBob SquarePants" show. Ads for "Indiana Jones" and "Get Smart" aired during children's programming hours, CARU stated, but declined to say during which programs.
The referrals are the next step in a highly visible and long simmering dispute between CARU and movie promoters. Earlier this year, CARU and the MPAA struck and agreement covering ads for films rated PG-13, R or NC017 in any medium primarily directed to children under 12. CARU agreed that it would first attempt to determine whether an ad placement was intentional, and if it was found to have been unintentional, to ask the advertiser to pull its ad and ensure the placement did not reoccur.
If an ad placement in children's media was deemed to have been intentional, CARU agreed to refer the matter to the MPAA Advertising Administration, which pledged to determine whether the film at issue "is appropriate to be advertised to children."
Read previous KidAdLaw coverage of the issue.