ASA Ruling on JAKKS Pacific Inc
JAKKS Pacific Inc
5 Queens Square
Ascot Business Park
9 January 2013
Number of complaints:
Focus on Kids
A TV ad on a cartoon channel for Cabbage Patch Kids dolls showed a number of images of the dolls, alongside various Polaroid photographs. One photograph showed the rear of one doll with her pants pulled halfway down, exposing her bottom, which appeared to have a tattoo or writing inscribed on it.
The complainant, who believed that the photograph represented children in a sexual way, challenged whether the ad was irresponsible.
JAKKS Pacific Inc (JAKKS Pacific) said Cabbage Patch Kids was a well respected brand, known for providing responsible, fun, and entertaining dolls and other products. They said the photograph that was shown for less than one second and was part of a multi-frame sequence, featured the lower hip of a Cabbage Patch Kids doll and the signature of the brand's creator which had appeared on all dolls produced since the late 1980s. They said the signature was an identifying mark used to protect the brand from counterfeiting and that consumers were familiar with and relied on its presence. They said the purpose of the photograph was to quickly communicate to consumers that only original and authentic Cabbage Patch Kids dolls had this mark. They believed it was not sexual in nature and that the average viewer would not see it in this way either.
Clearcast said the scene containing the doll's bottom was brief and that the pants were pulled down only to show the official Cabbage Patch branding. They did not believe that the image was presented in a sexualised manner.
The ASA understood that the signature of the creator of Cabbage Patch Kids was featured on the bottom of the dolls and that JAKKS Pacific included this in the ad to communicate to viewers that only original and authentic Cabbage Patch Kids dolls had this mark. The photograph appeared for no longer than two seconds and, while the photograph featured a partially naked bottom of a doll, we considered that it was unlikely to be interpreted by viewers as having sexual connotations. We considered that the ad was not irresponsible and therefore concluded that it did not breach the Code.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social responsibility) and 5.5 (Children) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.