The Ad Council on Thursday called on Tyco Toys to withdraw "Incredible Crash Dummies," one of the year's most popular toys, because the toy jeopardizes its campaign to get people to wear seat belts.
The toy dummies, which fly apart when driven into a toy crash wall, resemble the dummies used in the council's public service announcements to remind motorists to use their seat belts. The toy dummies are under five inches tall.
It is the first time the Ad Council, a non-profit group, has ever called upon a company to stop selling a product.
Though the toy has generated scattered controversy among parents and educators, it is popular with boys ages 5 to 8. It is expected to ring up sales of about $50 million this year, making it one of the best-selling Christmas toys.
Richard Grey, chairman and chief executive officer, said he would not recall the toys. He said that the toy came about as a result of negotiations between Tyco and the U.S. Department of Transportation, which licensed the crash dummy concept in an effort to encourage youngsters to buckle up.
However, DOT reportedly pulled out of the deal because it feared that the safety message was getting lost. Tyco then changed the names of the crash-test dummies from Vince and Larry, used by the Ad Council, to Slick and Slim.