Children's Advertising Review Unit

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The Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) is an industry-established regulator of advertising to children formed through a strategic alliance with the major U.S. advertising trade associations through the National Advertising Review Council. A council of the Better Business Bureaus, CARU is charged with monitoring all national ads aimed at children 12 and under, and was formed as an alternative to government action. According to its website, CARU "evaluates child-directed advertising and promotional material in all media to advance truthfulness, accuracy and consistency with its Self-Regulatory Guidelines for Children's Advertising and relevant laws [1].

Partnership with General Mills

In 2005, General Mills, in the wake of growing criticism over sugary cereals, launched a campaign aimed at communicating "the benefits of breakfast to children" through television ads dubbed "Choose Breakfast." [2] CARU gave its blessing to the ads, which General Mills claim do not promote its own cereals but rather try to get kids to eat breakfast in the morning. CARU director Elizabeth Lascoutx praised the ads, saying, "Ensuring that positive, nonbranded health messages like Choose Breakfast are being delivered to children is not only responsible, but commendable."[3]

Ellen Fried, who teaches food law at New York University, said that CARU should have taken swift action to banish the ads for violating the guidelines of the agency, "but instead, they joined hands with General Mills by anointing their campaign. The company deftly sought preapproval and got even more."[4]

Critism of Kraft

In 2005, Kraft introduced the "Pizza and Treatza" game on their Lunchables website. "The Lunchables Brigade's mission," kids are told, is to "fight routine lunch."[5] CARU, in November 2005, admonished Kraft for depicting the Lunchables Brigade as "coming to the rescue of children who have been provided with a homemade lunch of what the Brigade describes as 'leftover chicken legs.'" They also expressed concern "regarding the depiction of Lunchables in the context of a balanced meal as well as potential issues of product denigration."[6]

Contact Details

Children's Advertising Review Unit
70 West 36th Street, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10018
866-334-6272 (ext.111)
Email: caru AT caru.bbb.org
Website: http://www.caru.org/index.aspx

Articles and resources

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References

  1. www.caru.org
  2. Michele Simon, Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines our Health and How You Can Fight Back, Nation Books, 2006, page 120.
  3. Michele Simon, Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines our Health and How You Can Fight Back, Nation Books, 2006, page 121.
  4. Michele Simon, Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines our Health and How You Can Fight Back, Nation Books, 2006, pages 120-121.
  5. Kraft Foods. Lunchables Brigade.
  6. Error on call to Template:cite web: Parameters url and title must be specified (November 16, 2005).

External resources

External articles