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Kids Coaltion Asks FTC To Investigate PG-13 Film Marketing

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a coalition of children's advocacy groups  has called on the FCC to expand its investigation into the marketing of movies to kids to include PG-13 movies advertised in children's TV shows.

The group was prompted to write the FTC asking for the investigation by the marketing of the new Transformer movie, which contains "intense sequences of sci-fi action violence."  Despite the content, the movie is being advertised during children's programming with TV-Y rating, a rating that signals a show appropriate for kids as young as 2.

It cited various Nickelodeon shows that aired the ads, including Fairly Odd Parents and Jimmy Neutron.

The group also argues that the advertisements for the Transformer toys in kids shows amount to marketing of the film.

The Children's Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has been pushing the industry not to advertise PG-13 films in children's shows, but has gotten pushback from studios who point out the films aren't off-limits to kids like R-rated films.

 The campaign concedes CARU's attempts, but says that beyond sending letters asking distributors to refrain from the practice, CARU has announced "no disciplinary action." That's not exactly right. CARU did refer a complaint against Lions Gate Filims to the FTC back in December, which is essentially as much disciplinary authority as the self-regulatory body.