Watchdog Group Criticizes Placement of 'Superman' Ads

Slaps Warner Bros. for Marketing PG-13 Film on Cartoon Network

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The Children's Advertising Review Unit has slapped Warner Bros. for advertising the PG-13 rated film "Superman Returns" on the Cartoon Network.
Warner Bros. disputes CARU's ruling regarding advertising for the movie 'Superman' on corporate sibling Cartoon Network, but won't appeal it.
Warner Bros. disputes CARU's ruling regarding advertising for the movie 'Superman' on corporate sibling Cartoon Network, but won't appeal it.

CARU, the ad industry's self-regulatory body that oversees children's advertising, today said that touting the film on children's programming is wrong, considering the film's rating for older teens. The Motion Picture Association of America describes the PG-13 rating as a warning to parents that movies may not be suitable to young children.

'Beyond the boundaries'
"A PG-13 film is one which, in the view of the Rating Board, leaps beyond the boundaries of the PG rating in theme, violence, nudity, sensuality, language, or other contents, but does not quite fit within the restricted R category," according to the MPAA.

CARU, in its decision, said its guidelines require that content inappropriate for children not be advertised or promoted to them.

"CARU was concerned that airing a commercial for a film rated PG-13 during children's programming with a substantial audience of children under 13 would create an interest in the film by the child audience and send an implicit message that the film is appropriate for all children," the group said in its case report.

No appeal to ruling
Warner Bros., in a statement to CARU, disputed the ruling, saying a PG-13 rating doesn't mean children younger than 13 shouldn't see the film or are barred from seeing it without parents. It also said the advertising had been reviewed by the Cartoon Network for content. Still, Warner Bros. won't appeal the ruling.

"We value our brand and are committed to responsible marketing," the company said in its statement to CARU. "We will continue our current practice of making media-placement decisions for our films on a case-by-case basis."

The Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. are both divisions of Time Warner.
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