Tort Law: Children v. Advertisers: TV Torts -- Is There a Duty?
12 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2015
Date Written: April 1, 1990
This article explores the Florida Supreme Court’s decision to affirm dismissal of a negligence claim based on TV advertising. A child, mimicking the activity of the actor’s in a Mountain Dew commercial, harmed himself. In affirming the dismissal of the parents’ claim against Pepsico, Inc., the Florida Supreme Court determined that Pepsico, Inc. owed no duty of care to the child and there was no foreseeability of injury. While this no-duty rule is consistent with other publisher liability claims, the article points out that the research on the influence of advertising on children establishes that children do and will mimic the activities they view in commercials. In fact advertisers purposely associate their product with an activity that will entice the viewer. Children, in particular, are susceptible to the influence of TV advertising. The article gives empirical evidence indicating that children are more vulnerable to television messages than adults. The article suggests that fears of potentially unlimited liability of advertisers are unwarranted, concluding that applying common sense in future cases will avoid the “slippery slope” effect.
Keywords: Tort Law, TV, television, commercial, liability, Federal Trade Commission, FTC, children, viewers, foreseeability, Pepsico, Sakon, slippery slope, behavior, violence
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation