The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of BBB National Programmes, a U.S. advertising watchdog, has found Roblox in violation of the group’s guidelines for responsible advertising to children younger than 13.
Roblox came to CARU’s attention through its routine monitoring of child-directed content. CARU determined that Roblox had not adequately disclosed to children whether advertising present within “experiences" on Roblox and content integrated into a video was advertising.
The watchdog also said Roblox did not take adequate measures to ensure that social media influencers with child audiences adequately labelled their content as advertising.
CARU recommended that Roblox ensure that advertisements are clearly and conspicuously identified as ads in language or audio that children can see, hear, and easily understand.
Roblox should also monitor their endorsers and influencers to ensure they are clearly and conspicuously disclosing their material connection to Roblox in a way that children can easily understand, the watchdog suggested.
During the investigation, Roblox informed CARU it had established new advertising standards for its platform, which will no longer allow advertising to children under 13. This policy will “require developers to programmatically identify advertising content in experiences to users under the age of 13.”
Under the new standards, developers will have tools to code whether children will see nothing in place of an ad or see non-advertising content in place of the ad. This new policy will go into effect on 15 June. The watchdog said once the new Roblox policy goes into effect, the advertising practices outlined will no longer be at issue. CARU will continue to monitor the platform to ensure compliance with CARU Advertising Guidelines once the new policy is implemented.
CARU recommended that Roblox establish and implement a monitoring process to enforce its new advertising policy and community standards.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to Roblox for a statement.
Roblox is an online game platform developed by Roblox Corporation that allows users to programme games and play games created by other users. It ranks as one of the top online entertainment platforms for audiences under the age of 18, with the largest demographic consisting of users 9 to 12 years old, according to the watchdog.
Companies such as Nike, H&M and Hasbro have created branded experiences within Roblox. Back in January, H&M launched an immersive 3D gaming experience “H&M Loooptopia” on Roblox to allow players to experiment with materials and patterns in a playful way, creating the next virtual garment and wardrobe for their avatar.
Back in October last year, Hasbro's My Little Pony galloped into Roblox activations with its new metaverse game, "Visit Maritime Bay" to mark its new episode releases of My Little Pony: Make Your Mark on Netflix. Upon entering the game, players' Roblox avatars will undergo a magical transformation into a customisable pony avatar, this feature is unique to the "Visit Maretime Bay'' experience that enables fans to go beyond the screen and fully immerse themselves in the world of My Little Pony.
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