Disney download rapped for cost and clarity
ASA slams Mickey Mouse outfit
The Walt Disney Company has been censured by the UK advertising watchdog for not making clear that a children's mobile phone game cost £5 in its advertising.
Disney broke Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) rules on truthfulness and pricing and was told to change its advertising. The ASA also told the company to make sure parental consent was given for expensive game downloads.
Disney advertised two sets of games available for download to mobile phones. A complaint was made to the ASA that the cost of the games was not made clear and that the advertising was irresponsible because it appealed to children who could download the games without adult permission.
The company argued that the signs advertised mobile internet links not to the games themselves, but to sites which explained what the games were and that they cost £5. It also said the brochure which contained the ads was aimed at parents, not children.
"We considered that it was unclear that the ads were simply an invitation to find out more about the games and that the charge mentioned in the ad was for an initial text message only," said the ASA ruling.
"We concluded that the ads should have either included the full cost of downloading the games, or explained clearly that the cost referred to in the ads was the cost of gathering information about the games and a further charge would apply to get the games on your phone."
Disney told the ASA that the advertising was designed for adults. It said that the wording of phrases such as 'Indulge your little princess with her own special carriage this Christmas' or '…costumes and accessories for your little pirate' made it clear that the brochure was for adults.
The ASA did not accept Disney's argument. "It was available in store and its distribution was therefore not restricted to adults only and because some of its content spoke directly to children, the brochure was, at least in part, addressed to or targeted at children," said the ASA ruling.
"Given that, and because the games were complex and costly products, we concluded that adult permission should have been obtained before children were committed to purchasing them," it said.
Disney was told to include the full cost of games in future advertising and to find a way to make sure that adult permission was granted before children were able to purchase such costly games.
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I dislike Disney and eveyone else who is commericalizing childhood.
I think one of the worse things you can teach a child is that joy and happiness come out of a box.
The most important thing you can give to your child is time and attention.
Which parent do you think is going to get the most visits in the nursing home?
Parent A) who works overtime so that they can overspend on boxes full of plastic toys branded with the character form the latest children's movie.
Parent B) that works less, buys less, but spends half a day with his children building a castle, race car, pirate ship .... with them out of cardboard boxes, tape and crayons.
If you don't have the time, but have the money, at least spend it on activities rather than possessions.
Teach children to have fun doing rather than have fun owning.
Come on, parents don't consider their children pestering them for the latest and greatest toys on their birthdays and Christmas have little princesses, they consider them little horrors.
Besides, a child is more likely to have a little princess. Do they not sell toys called "my little princess"? Of course they do. So of course its aimed at children.
The first handset company that provides a mobile I can bar text messages on gets my vote. So does a network that provides a child friendly PAYG scheme where they CANNOT download ringtones and screen savers.
Mhm, looks like they try so hard to avoid the "Ask your parents about it" attitude, don't they? One that's right and errr...maybe a BIT frustrating for some irresponsible parents, that cannot say no to their children in most situations?