'Buckyballs' launches ad campaign to save toy magnets

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CBS News

Posted on August 20, 2012 at 9:29 AM

Updated Monday, Aug 20 at 9:29 AM

NEW YORK -- The company behind the strong “rare-earth” magnets, Buckyballs, is fighing back at Washington regulators with a new advertising campaign.

The company, Maxfield & Oberton Holdings, is responding to what they call overzealous regulators who have moved to take Buckyballs off the market because children keep swallowing them, putting themselves at risk for internal organ damage.

Buckyballs are marketed to adults and are covered with warning labels, however last month, the Consumer Product Safety Commision (CPSC) filed an administrative complaint against the company, alerting the public about the risks and offering customers a refund.

Craig Zucker, CEO of Maxfield & Oberton, launched a sharp-witted ad campaign using the slogan, “Save Our Balls.” The ads, in newspapers and on the web, are directed at lawmakers and President Obama, claiming that the Obama administration has pushed regulation too far.

Zucker joined “CBS This Morning” on Monday and claimed that the risks of Buckyballs are being overstated. “Compared to other products in the marketplace, it is an extremely low rate of injury,” he said before adding that the “small rate of misuse is because it’s used by the wrong user...it shouldn’t be in those kids’ hands in the first place.”

Zucker points to the five different warning labels on the packaging of each Buckyballs product and cites the company’s “vigorous safety program.”

He also claims that his company has worked “very cooperatively” with the CPSC over the past three years but believes “they simply wanted to put us out of business.”

“I think they thought the industry was an easy target,” Zucker said on “CTM.” “We are a small industry.”

To date, CPSC has not responded to a CBS News request for comment on the matter. A hearing will be scheduled before an administrative law judge, who will decide whether to grant the their request to take Buckyballs off the market.

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