We market our brands to our consumers in a responsible and appropriate manner. We pay close attention to how we market and advertise our products. Our goal is to do so responsibly, especially to children, and to protect online users’ rights. Beyond the physical toys and games we create, our responsibilities to consumers extend to the entertainment content we provide through our television programming, motion pictures, and digital and online gaming and media. As the ways children and adults access entertainment continues to expand, Hasbro is committed to offering content that is appropriate and that respects privacy.
To keep our consumers’ trust and confidence, we have internal processes in place to oversee content development and meet applicable privacy laws. To this end, we work closely with our licensees and with respected independent privacy monitoring organizations.
Marketing to Children
Internationally, there is much debate over marketing to children. While the age definition of a child varies widely between countries and organizations (from “under 12” to “under 18 years”), marketing to children has been regulated for decades. Originally focused on TV, print, and radio advertising, regulators are now targeting digital media since most companies are using digital media more frequently to communicate and market products. In the European Union, for example, the Data Protection Regulation as well as the review of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive will address or are expected to address aggressive marketing to children, including latest digital marketing techniques.
Meanwhile, companies have developed numerous self-regulatory codes to demonstrate a commitment to responsible advertising. The most widely acknowledged of these is the ICC code, which specifically covers communications with children. Globally, more than 100 countries have adopted national self-regulatory codes regarding marketing to children, which are enforced by local self-regulatory organizations and participating industries.
As the ways that companies communicate with consumers and children continue to evolve, we expect to see further development of government and self-regulatory guidelines on responsible practices.
Since 2009, Los Angeles-based Hasbro Studios, a subsidiary of Hasbro, has made high-quality, socially responsible, animated and live action entertainment content. Based on our popular brands, such as TRANSFORMERS, MY LITTLE PONY, and LITTLEST PET SHOP, our TV shows seek both to entertain children and honor the values embodied by our brands. For example, THE ADVENTURES OF CHUCK AND FRIENDS focuses on the importance of teamwork, character building, and problem solving in an entertaining format that appeals to preschoolers.
Knowing that our programs are watched by children of all ages, our producers marry innovation with content so that the content is appropriate for everyone. Television scripts are reviewed by a Hasbro Studios producer, brand teams, a script clearance company, and legal counsel.
For more than 30 years, the MY LITTLE PONY message that friendship truly is magical has resonated with consumers and elevated the brand to pop culture status−transcending both age and gender.
The MY LITTLE PONY brand supports socially relevant messages of acceptance, friendship, tolerance and celebrating differences, which appeal to children, parents and fans of all ages and encourages the ability to feel comfortable and empowered with our own unique personas. Whether you’re fun like Pinkie-Pie, super smart like Princess Twilight Sparkle, kind like Fluttershy, honest like Applejack, adventurous like Rainbow Dash or caring like Rarity, the land of Equestria is a place where everyone is valued and respected.
Online and Digital Media
Our growing portfolio of digital and online content, including “digital shorts” (short digital videos), video games and websites, provides information and entertainment for families and children of all ages. In 2013, Hasbro acquired a majority stake in Backflip Studios, a mobile game developer, in order to extend our brands into mobile gaming.
We work with our video game licensees to ensure Hasbro-branded video games are suitable for a wide audience as reflected by appropriate Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings. We also establish internal quality guidelines for our mobile and online games, whether developed by licensees or Hasbro. In addition, we have advertising and social media marketing guidelines in place for all our online and digital experiences.
We set high standards for our websites, which may be enjoyed by adults and children around the world who want to engage with their favorite characters and brands. For our kid-targeted websites in the U.S., our objective is to ensure that content is family friendly and that the websites comply with the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”), which sets rules for collecting information from children under 13.
How We Meet Government Regulations
Hasbro takes its responsibilities to adhere to laws and regulations governing advertising, entertainment, and digital content very seriously. In the fast-moving world of advertising, digital technology, and entertainment, we seek to implement best practices by working with developers, regulatory agencies, and licensees.
We are guided by regulations set by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which oversees advertising and enforce related legislation. Hasbro is also an active, fee-paying member of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), which sets voluntary guidelines for companies on advertising to children. Hasbro’s legal department closely reviews our advertising to make sure it meets CARU, FTC, and our internal advertising guidelines.
Our digital licensees, who make Hasbro branded products such as digital games and apps, also play a crucial role in meeting Hasbro’s compliance goals. We require them by contract to make these products compliant with applicable laws. When laws change significantly, we work with our licensees to ensure they respond appropriately.