Group Against Liquor Advertising and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1996-139
- J M Potter (Chair)
- A Martin
- L M Loates
- R McLeod
- Group against Liquor Advertising (GALA)
Programme2 Sports Action: Lion Red League
BroadcasterTelevision New Zealand Ltd
A commercial break at about 10.25pm, during the commentators’ summary of the league match broadcast on 2 Sports Action: Lion Red League, amounted to 4 minutes 15 seconds in total. It began and finished with a 5 second sponsorship credit and included another sponsorship credit and a 30 second liquor advertisement. Liquor promotions comprised 45 seconds of the break.
GALA’s Complaints Secretary, Cliff Turner, complained to Television New Zealand Ltd that four liquor promotions in one commercial break constituted saturation in contravention of the standards.
Pointing out that the liquor promotions were not sequential and amounted in total to only 45 seconds of a break which lasted 4 minutes and 15 seconds, TVNZ did not accept that the promotions amounted to saturation.
Dissatisfied with TVNZ’s decision, Mr Turner on GALA’s behalf referred the complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.
For the reasons below, the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.
The members of the Authority have viewed the commercial break complained about and have read the correspondence (summarised in the Appendix). As is its practice, the Authority determines the complaint without a formal hearing.
On GALA’s behalf, Complaints Secretary Cliff Turner complained about the contents of a commercial break broadcast during the post-game summary on Lion Red League on TV2 at about 10.25pm on 16 August 1996. Pointing out that the break started and ended up with a promotion for Lion Red beer, and included another promotion plus an advertisement for a liqueur, Mr Turner maintained that the extent of liquor promotion in one break contravened the standard prohibiting the saturation of liquor promotions.
TVNZ assessed the complaint against standard A1 of the Code for the Promotion of Liquor which reads:
A1 Saturation of liquor promotions, separately or in combination, must be avoided
Explaining that the total break lasted 4 minutes 15 seconds, TVNZ listed the contents of the break.
1. Lion Red league credit 5 seconds
2. TVNZ trailer for "Almost Perfect" 30 seconds
3. Advertisement for Nissan Maxima 30 seconds
4. Lion Red league sting 5 seconds
5. Advertisement for Lotto 15 seconds
6. Advertisement for Firestone 15 seconds
7. Road safety advert (seat belts) 1 minute
8. Advertisement for Wrigley’s Gum 15 seconds
9. Advertisement for Music Pulse 15 seconds
10. Advertisement for Amarula Liquor 30 seconds
11. Advertisement for McDonalds Big Mac 30 seconds
12. Lion Red league credit 5 seconds
Referring to a recent decision where a saturation complaint had been upheld because liquor promotions comprised more than a half of the total time of the break, TVNZ maintained that liquor promotions which constituted 45 seconds of a total break of 4 minutes 15 seconds did not amount to the saturation of liquor promotions.
When he referred GALA’s complaint to the Authority, Mr Turner said that GALA was seeking "a ruling about the proliferation of sponsorship credits in commercial breaks."
As it has explained in earlier decisions on complaints about the alleged saturation of liquor promotions, the Authority is reluctant to impose quantitative criteria. In 1993 (Decision Nos: 151-155/93), the Authority pointed out that standard A1 was concerned with an impression of saturation. Nevertheless, on that occasion because a amount of liquor promotion contained in games of Australian rugby league then being broadcast by TVNZ, the Authority albeit reluctantly imposed the following qualitative ruling:
... the Authority concluded that the impression of saturation occurred, and standard A1 of the Code was breached, where on average more than one incident of liquor promotion was screened more than once every three minutes throughout the entire programme.
The Authority does not consider that the issue raised in the current complaint is analogous to the one it was confronted with in 1993. On this occasion the complaint focussed on a commercial break. The Authority is of the opinion that the decisions which it has issued on the quantity of liquor promotions in a commercial break deal adequately with the situation.
As the liquor promotions constituted 45 seconds of a commercial break which lasted 4 minutes 15 seconds, and as no liquor promotions were broadcast consecutively, the Authority does not believe that on this occasion the extent of liquor promotion amounted to saturation in contravention of standard A1.
For the above reasons, the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.
Signed for an on behalf of the Authority
24 October 1996
GALA’s Complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd – 17 August 1996
GALA’s Complaints Secretary (Mr Cliff Turner) complained to Television New Zealand Ltd about a commercial break at about 10.25pm on 16 August 1996 during TV2’s programme Lion Red League.
Mr Turner said that the break started with a promotion for Lion Red which was soon followed by a similar promotion. Then came an advertisement for Amarula Cream and the break finished with another Lion Red promotion. Four liquor promotions in one commercial break, Mr Turner wrote, constituted saturation in contravention of the standards.
TVNZ’s Response to the Formal Complaint – 22 August 1996
Assessing the complaint under standard A1 of the Programme Codes, TVNZ outlined the contents of the commercial break. It began with a 5 second Lion Red League break title and was followed by:
1. TVNZ trailer for "Almost Perfect" 30 seconds
2. Advertisement for Nissan Maxima 30 seconds
3. Lion Red League sting 05 seconds
4. Advertisement for Lotto 15 seconds
5. Advertisement for Firestone 15 seconds
6. Road safety advert (seat belts) 1 minute
7. Advertisement for Wrigley’s Gum 15 seconds
8. Advertisement for Music Pulse 15 seconds
9. Advertisement for Amarula Liquor 30 seconds
10. Advertisement for McDonalds Big Mac 30 seconds
A 5 second Lion Red League credit led back into the league programme.
Of the total break of 4 minutes and 15 seconds, TVNZ said that 45 seconds was involved with the promotion of liquor.
It referred to an earlier decision from the Authority (1996-074) where a saturation complaint was upheld when liquor advertisements amounted to a 2 minutes of a 3 minute 45 seconds break. As the Authority on that occasion had said that proportion did not amount to a blatant breach, TVNZ maintained that the much smaller proportion on this occasion did not contravene the standards. TVNZ also pointed out that the one liquor promotion of any length - the Amarula advertisement - was separated from the other promotions. Accordingly, TVNZ maintained, the much smaller proportion of liquor promotion on this occasion did not contravene the standards.
In conclusion, TVNZ maintained that a viewer would not feel that he or she had been subjected to the saturation of liquor promotion.
GALA’s Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority - 26 April 1996
Dissatisfied with TVNZ’s decision, Mr Turner on GALA’s behalf referred the complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989. He wrote that he was seeking a ruling on the proliferation of sponsorship credits in commercial breaks.
TVNZ’s Report to the Authority – 3 September 1996
TVNZ advised that it had no further comments to make on the referral.
GALA’s Final Comment – 11 September
On GALA’s behalf, Mr Turner had nothing to add to the complaint.