The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) has referred to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) three top summer sci-fi movies that had ads they deemed inappropriate to young children. They are requesting that the MPAA review these ads and have them pulled from children’s media.
The ads in question were for the movies ‘Captain America’, ‘Green Lantern’ and ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ and all three movies were rated PG-13. The MPAA gave ‘Captain America’ and ‘Green Lantern’ the rating due to “intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action,” while ‘Transformers’ was for “intense prolonged sequences of sci-fi action violence, mayhem and destruction, for language, some sexuality and innuendo.”
CARU stated that ads from these movies intentionally appeared during times when children under 13 could see it. As examples, they cite an ad for ‘Green Lantern’ that appeared in an issue of ‘Sports Illustrated Kids’ and tv ads for ‘Captain America’ and ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ that appeared on the show ‘Hole in the Wall’ on the Cartoon Network.
(On a side note, the ‘Green Lantern’ ad that was in ‘Sports Illustrated Kids’ was part of joint promotion in conjunction with the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board’s “Got Milk?” campaign. As for the tv ads, although the Cartoon Network show ‘Hole in the Wall’ is geared to children, it does have contestants aged 10-17.)
Per an agreement with MPAA, if CARU finds any type of advertising for a PG-13 movie that may have been inadvertently placed during programming for children under 13, they can ask the advertiser to pull the ad and make sure it doesn’t reoccur. However, if the advertiser intentionally markets in media for under 13, CARU can refer the matter to the MPAA Advertising Administration. Paramount and Warner Bros. have stated the ads were placed intentionally so CARU made a filing.
MPAA’s response to this inquiry? Let’s just say they aren’t rushing to fix what ain’t broken. In an e-mail from MPAA spokesman, Howard Gantman, he states that no action will be required as “there was no violation of MPAA guidelines. Generally, a few PG-13 rated motion pictures are considered by the Advertising Administration to be compatible with children’s programs, based on the content of the movie, the advertisement and the program with which the advertisements are placed. And, in this case, the ads included approved advertising materials.”
Seems like this is a case of much ado about nothing. Just because a movie is rated PG-13, if the ad doesn’t contain objectionable material then it should be acceptable to air. Shots of the lead characters and some non violent action sequences aren’t going to traumatise a child. A movie’s PG-13 rating just means that Parental Guidance is recommended and it is up to them whether they deem the movie appropriate for their under 13 child. If the movie was rated NC-13 then I can understand. CARU should be more concerned about the movie trailers and ads these under 13 children have access to on the internet and YouTube than whether or not ‘Green Lantern’ is asking if you ‘Got Milk’. Don’t you agree?