Ad Alert

Stride Rite Leepz

CARU finds Stride Rite in the wrong.

What’s that in the sky? Is it a bird? A plane? No, it’s little Johnny with his brand new Stride Rite Leepz!

Or so a child might be led to believe by this ad, a version of which aired during children’s programming:

The Children’s Advertising Review Unit aka CARU, or the Children’s Advertising Review Unit, keeps tabs on advertising directed at children, and issues recommendations to advertisers when ads are deceptive or target children unfairly. But because the CARU is a self-regulatory group, advertisers can ignore its recommendations. CARU is administered by the Council for Better Business Bureaus. aka the adult in the room requested substantiation for the implied claim in the ad that wearing Leepz will enable children to jump higher and for these accompanying express claims:

  • “Leepz, the incredible shoe with sky-high technology.”
  • “Reach new heights with Leepz!”

In response, Stride Rite argued that “sky-high” technology refers not to how high a kid would be able to jump, but to how high-tech the shoes are. Along the same vein, “new heights” refers not to the staggering altitude the wearer can achieve, Stride Rite posited, but to a more metaphorical interpretation about “growing older and achieving new milestones.” Sure.

In regard to the visuals of the ad, which shows a boy jumping so high he eclipses the sun, Stride Rite argued that it’s actually a sequence of LED lights in the shoes that light up after each step that is “meant to evoke a bounce.” Uh-huh.

Certain versions of the commercial (though not the one above) include a written disclaimer: “Does not make you jump higher.”

CARU recommended that Stride Rite cease advertising claims that imply Leepz gives kids the ability to jump to incredible heights and that state that the shoes are made with “sky-high” technology. Stride Rite agreed to reflect the recommendations in any future broadcast airings of the ad.

A version of the commercial remains on the Stride Rite’s YouTube channel, along with this comment from a distressed parent:

[Y]ou devil people have my 4 year old convinced that if he gets your shoes he will be able to jump “high to the sun” … so thanks for that …

Find more of our coverage on advertising aimed at children here.

Our Ad Alerts are not just about false and deceptive marketing issues, but may also be about ads that, although not necessarily deceptive, should be viewed with caution. Ad Alerts can also be about single issues and may not include a comprehensive list of all marketing issues relating to the brand discussed.

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