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CARU Targets Misleading Kids Ads

Activision, the company behind a newscast-style TV ad for the Over the Hedge video game says it has no plans to repeat it after an advertising self-regulating body took issue with the spot. Elsewhere on the ad- monitoring front, Uncle Milton's Floam-covered Candy Volcano has been forced off the airwaves.

The Activision ad, which ended its run on Nickelodeon May 18, was cited as possibly misleading to children because it featured a mock news anchor, "Rein McClain" on a mock newscast, "In the Know," reporting the release of the video game and directing kids to their Web site.

The Childrens Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, essentially the ad industry's self-regulatory watchdog group for kids ads, raised concerns about the ad misleading kids into thinking it was news and asked the company to clearly label  it advertising.

While Activision said it did not agree the ad could be misleading, it said it would take the advisory into consideration--CARU has no enforcement authority beyond referring complaints to the FTC--and pointed out it had stopped running the ad already and didn't plan to repeat it.

In other CARU action Thursday, SAS, the marketers of modeling compound Floam, have agreed to edit a deceptive scene out of its TV commercial for the product.

The Floam ad, probably familiar to anyone with a young child, included the instructions to build a volcano out of Foam, showing one errupting with steam. CARU questioned whether kids could actually do that with the product, which is one of CARU's self-regulatory tests.

Turns out the strict answer was no. SAS had, instead, purchased a candy volcano from someone else, Uncle Milton Toys, according to CARU, and had covered it with Floam for the ad.

SAS agreed to edit out the scene in new iterations of the commercial.