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Challenge the Effectiveness of  Self-Regulation

Defenders of child-directed marketing frequently argue that government regulation is not needed because the industry has its own regulatory body, the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU).  What they often fail to mention, however, is that CARU has only five full-time employees to monitor a $15 billion industry; that CARU does not monitor in-school marketing, product placement, or many of the latest marketing techniques; and that the agency has no enforcement powers.  Last year, a report by the Motherhood Project found “A glaring gap between what the advertising industry says about self-regulation - and what it actually does.” 



What you can do: An important step towards demonstrating the need for more regulation of child-directed marketing is to show that the advertising industry’s current system of self-regulation is ill-equipped to address the concerns of parents and advocates for children’s well-being.  If you see marketing that you believe is inappropriate for children, let the Children’s Advertising Review Unit know.


Send CARU an email ( and be sure to copy CCFC ( Let them know where and when you saw the advertisement (including the channel and program if it was on television), the product being advertised, and what you found objectionable.  Reasons to contact CARU include:

  • Marketing that encourages unhealthy eating habits;

  • Marketing that uses sex or violence to make a product attractive to children;

  • Marketing designed to undermine parental authority or to get children to nag their parents for products;

  • Marketing that promotes questionable values for children

It is important to note that you do not need to be familiar with CARU’s principle and guidelines in order to send them a complaint. The purpose of this campaign is to not determine whether CARU is meeting its own standards, but whether the agency is meeting your standards.  So even if you see marketing that does not necessarily fall under CARU’s jurisdiction (e.g. in-school advertising), please let CARU know about your concerns. If CARU responds that they do monitor the type of marketing you are concerned about, that is more evidence that the current system of self-regulation does not adequately protect children and that more regulation of child-directed marketing is needed


Send a complaint to CARU









From Teen People 

Marketing that uses sex  to make a product attractive to children






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