CARU Refers Lions Gate Complaint to FTC

The Better Business Bureau has referred a complaint against Lions Gate Films to the Federal Trade Commission.

The Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the BBB says its film, Employee of the Month, contains crude and sexual humor (it is rated PG-13) and should not have been advertised in kids shows on Nickelodeon. It also says Lions Gate did not provide a "substantive response," to its inquiry.

CARU, which is essentially the ad industry's own self-regulator on ads targeted to kids 12 and under, does not have enforcement power beyond referring complaints to the FTC. 

In a separate case, CARU also asked Twentieth Century Fox not to advertise film X-Men: The Last Stand on Nickelodeon or in other kids programming. Fox said the ad flight ended Oct. 18 and that it has no plans to run it again, but it also said that it did not think the ads were inappropriate on Nickelodeon.

CARU and some in the movie industry part ways over whether PG-13 movies should be advertised in kids shows.

CARU generally frowns on advertising PG-13 movies in kids shows since that designation defines the movie as containing scenes that may not be appropriate for children.

Studios have argued that the movies aren't de facto unsuitable for kids, and that kids can watch them with parental guidance.

CARU picked the same bone with Disney back in September over its advertising of Pirates of the Caribbean on Nickelodeon, though Disney participated in the process. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.