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The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), a division of BBB National Programs, recently updated its Self-Regulatory Guidelines for Children’s Advertising. Important updates include:

  • To align with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), the Guidelines now apply to national advertising primarily directed to children under the age of 13 instead of under 12, regardless of the medium involved.
  • The Guidelines outline criteria used to assess whether a national ad is primarily directed to children.
  • The Guidelines confirm that placement or integration of a product, service, character, or brand in editorial, educational, entertainment, or other non-commercial content is not within scope unless it constitutes an endorsement.
  • The Guidelines respond to the rise of influencer marketing by incorporating principles of the FTC Guidelines on Endorsements and Testimonials.
  • A new section specifies that in-app and in-game advertising may not use unfair, deceptive, or other manipulative tactics to encourage such purchases, and requires that methods for exiting an ad are “clear and conspicuous.” Games and apps with in-game purchases must make clear that such transactions involve real currency.
  • Reflecting the growing societal focus on diversity and inclusion, another new provision of the Guidelines urges advertisers to refrain from depicting or encouraging negative social stereotyping, prejudice, or discrimination.
  • The privacy section of the previous version of the Guidelines has been removed and published separately.

The new Guidelines take effect January 1, 2022.