* Talk with your children about
how to understand television advertisments for toys.
* Some toy ads may exaggerate a toy's performance.
* Some toys shown in TV ads may require special skills or practive before
they can be used easily.
* Some toys may not be sold with all the pieces shown in the TV
Toys advertised on television are
often an important pars of a child's birthday and holiday wish
Television advertisements are an
important source of information about toys. Ads show children new
products and help illustrate how those products perform.
Some children, particularly
younger ones, may have trouble discerning in an ad how a toy works
outside its imaginary setting or whether toy parts are sold
To prevent disappointments, you
may want to help children better understand what they see in television
ads. As with all products, toys advertised on TV are made to appear as
appealing as possible. You should point out that the purpose of
advertising is to sell products; not all information about a toy may be
contained in an ad.
Evaluating Television Ads
To help children evaluate toy
advertisements, consider discussing the following points:
Toy ads exaggerate a toy's
A toy on TV may appear to make
elaborate sounds or move by itself when, in fact, it cannot. You could
discuss how special sound effects, production techniques, camera work, or
editing can be used to enhance a toy's operation. Many ads show toys being
used in make-believe settings in ways that are unrepresentative of how
they work in real life. You may want to help children focus on the part
of the ad showing the toy's real-life operation.
Toys may require special skills or
In some ads, toys may look easy to
play with or operate. In fact, they may require hours of practice before
they can be used as shown. In addition, you may want to remind children
that, because of differing levels of skills and talents, not all toys are
appropriate for all children.
Toys may not be sold with all the
pieces displayed in the ad.
You may want to help children
determine what pieces actually come with a toy. Some toys may be shown
with parts from more than one package while others may be depicted in
elaborate play settings not readily duplicated at home. Children may want
to watch and listen for such key phrases as "pieces sold seperately" or
"no batteries included."
Toys may have to be
Toys in ads may look ready to play
with when, in fact, they require assembly. In some cases, the assembly may
be difficult or time-consuming. Children may want to note whether an ad
states "some assembly required."
To enhance toy purchasing and gift
giving occasions for everyone, you may want to consider the
* Talk with children about
advertising. Encourage them to discuss with you the ads they see on TV>
After you buy a toy, discuss whether it performs the way they thought it
would. Ask what additional information they need to know about a toy
before purchasing it or whether another toywould be a better
* As with any product, find out
information about a toy before purchasing it. Carefully examine the toy
and its packaging in the store or ask friends for their experiences. Try
to determine how the toy actually performs, what pieces come with it, and
how much assembly is required.
* Check the recommended age level
on the toy packaging. This is the manufacturer's guide to the
appropriateness of the toy and skill level required.
For More Information
The Federal Trade Commission Act
requires all toy advertising to be truthful and not misleading. If you
have questions or concerns about toy advertisements, write
Federal Trade Commission
Washington, D.C. 20580
These comments help the FTC in its
For additional information about
children and advertising, you may want to write to:
Advertising Review Unit (CARU)
Council of Better Business Bureau's, Inc.
845 Third Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10022
CARU was established by the
advertising industry to review and evaluate children's