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MPAA Asked to Look Into Iron Man Ads

Are those promos for Iron Man too intense for the tykes? The Motion Picture Association of America is being asked to decide.

The Better Business Bureau referred TV ads for two Paramount films, including blockbuster Iron Man, to the MPAA to decide whether the films should have been advertised in shows targeted toward kids under 12.

PG-13 Iron Man features some scenes of intense violence and was advertised during kids’ shows, said the BBB's Children's Advertising Review Unit. CARU similarly referred another Paramount film, the somewhat lower-profile Drillbit Taylor, to the MPAA for the same call.

The promo for Drillbit Taylor aired during Nickelodeon's Zoey 101. The one for Iron Man also aired on Nickelodeon during Zoey 101, as well as Drake & Josh.

In March, CARU reached an agreement with the MPAA in which it will refer advertisers that intentionally place PG-13 ads during kids’ shows to the MPAA to determine whether they have violated movie-industry guidelines for such advertising. Previously, CARU was making that determination.

Paramount told CARU it intended to place the ads during the Nickelodeon shows, according to CARU.

The MPAA has its own ad-screening arm. Studios that submit their movies for ratings to the MPAA's Classification and Ratings Administration (CARA, not to be confused with CARU) must also submit their ads to the MPAA to make sure they are suitable for the target audiences, particularly kids.

CARU has been pushing the movie industry not to advertise PG-13 films during children's shows, but it got pushback from some studios. CARU generally frowns on advertising PG-13 movies during 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.