CARU Asks Disney to Stop Advertising ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ to Kids

According to Broadcasting & Cable Magazine, the Children's Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has asked Disney to stop marketing the PG-13 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest' to children on Nickelodeon.

A self-regulating arm of the ad industry, CARU made a formal complaint about ads that ran in tandem with the film's theatrical release in June, three months after they had aired. Disney responded by saying they had no plans on rerunning the ads, and stated that they had relied on Nickelodeon's clearance department to ensure proper ad placement.

CARU frowns on advertising PG-13 films to children under 12 because the MPAA rating indicates the presence of content that "may be unsuitable." However, as the B&C notes, 'Pirates of the Caribbean' toys, games, food and a whole bevy of other licensed products are heavily marketed to children despite the film's rating.

It will be interesting to see how close and timely CARU's scrutiny will be when Disney launches the third installment of the franchise next year, and what changes Disney will make regarding ad buys on younger-skewing channels. As reported for Q3 2006, the Disney Consumer Products division’s income rose 70% over the previous year to $105 million, much of which was due to sales of Pirates-themed merchandise.

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