Group Opposed to Advertising of Liquor and Canterbury Television Ltd - 1994-013
- I W Gallaway (Chair)
- R A Barraclough
- L M Dawson
- J R Morris
- Group Opposed To Advertising Of Liquor
BroadcasterCanterbury Television Ltd
DB Sport was the title of the programme broadcast by CTV at 9.00pm on 9 August 1993.
The Secretary of the Group Opposed to Advertising of Liquor (GOAL), Mr Turner,
complained to Canterbury Television Ltd that the item breached the broadcasting
standards in a number of ways. In contravention of the requirements, the backdrop
behind the presenter carried the logo of a liquor company, an interview with a sports
representative was contrived to show other liquor company logos, and the sponsor's logo
was shown in the corner of the screen for an excessively long period.
CTV upheld the aspect relating to the backdrop, adding that it intended considering
adjusting the programme's format. However, it did not consider that the interview was
contrived, or that the logo had been focussed on unduly or shown for an excessively
lengthy period. Dissatisfied both with some aspects of the complaint not upheld and the
action taken on the aspect upheld, GOAL referred the complaint to the Broadcasting
Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.
For the reasons given below, the Authority upheld the aspects of the complaint which
referred to standards A3.a, b and c and ordered CTV to broadcast a summary of the
The members of the Authority have viewed the programme complained about and have
read the correspondence (summarised in the Appendix). As is its practice, the Authority
has determined the complaint without a formal hearing.
The Secretary of GOAL, Mr Cliff Turner, complained to CTV about aspects of its broadcast
of DB Sport from 9.00–10.00pm on 9 August 1993. He listed the provisions in the
Additional Programme Standards which he alleged were contravened. Following the
enactment of the Broadcasting Amendment Act 1993 which handed responsibility for
complaints about advertisements to the Advertising Standards Complaints Board (ASCB),
the Additional Standards are now part of either the Programme Standards A1 to A4 (the
BSA's responsibility) or the ASA Code for Advertising Liquor (the ASCB's responsibility).
The rewritten provisions were acknowledged by GOAL when it referred its complaint to
the Authority. In its referral, it alleged that the broadcast breached aspects of standard A3
of the Programme Standards which reads:
A3 Broadcasters will ensure that the incidental promotion of liquor is
minimised and in particular:
a. Will not be a party to any contract or arrangement where incidental
liquor promotion is a contrived part of the programme
b. Will ensure that backdrops and props for any in-house studio
programme do not carry liquor promotions (not applicable to radio)
c. Will not unduly focus in a live or on-location event on any
particular advertising signage, logo or any other sound or visual
effect which promotes liquor
d. Will not broadcast anything which is in breach of section 1, relating
to incidental promotion and saturation, of the Voluntary Sports
Code for Liquor Advertising and Promotion on Television.
It is recognised that incidental liquor promotion occurs from time to time in
programmes where broadcasters have little or no control over the situation. In
those situations they must minimise the exposure to the best of their ability. Where
broadcasters have control of the situation, they will ensure that the standards
regarding incidental promotion are followed in the spirit as well as the letter.
As its first point, GOAL alleged that the broadcast breached standard A3.b as a backdrop
promoting Dominion Breweries was seen behind the presenter on a number of occasions.
CTV upheld this aspect and advised GOAL that it intended to discuss the matter with the
advertiser "with a view to adjusting the format of the programme".
GOAL referred this aspect to the Authority on the basis that it was dissatisfied with the
broadcaster's actions. It argued that CTV should have decided to stop using the backdrop
immediately. In view of the previous complaints about the programme DB Sport,
discussed below, the Authority agreed with GOAL that CTV's actions, having upheld this
aspect of the complaint, were insufficient in the circumstances and that the use of the
backdrops should have stopped immediately.
GOAL has referred complaints about the programme DB Sport to the Authority on three
The first complaint about the programme broadcast between 7.00–7.30pm on 7
September 1992 alleged that the broadcast breached the prohibition of programmes
which give the impression of the saturation of liquor promotion. The provision under
which the complaint was made has since been replaced by standard A1. The complaint
was upheld in Decision No: 8/93 dated 15 February 1993.
The second complaint referred to the broadcast of DB Sport at the same time on 9
November 1992 and was made before the first decision was issued. It also alleged a breach
of the prohibition on saturation which the Authority again upheld, noting that the
frequent displays of the DB logo – approximately 50 in less than 30 minutes – amounted
to a "gross contravention" of the rules. It declined to uphold the complaint that the entire
programme was a liquor advertisement and declined to make an order on the basis that
the complaint was made before Decision No: 8/93 was issued. This ruling was contained
in Decision No: 69/93 dated 9 June 1993.
The third decision (No: 93/93, dated 9 August 1993) referred to the broadcast of DB
Sport from 7.00–7.30pm on 1 March 1993. It also alleged a breach of the saturation of
liquor promotions and, although the liquor promotions were not as overwhelming as the
9 November broadcast, the Authority upheld the complaint and ordered CTV to broadcast
within 14 days a brief summary of the decision.
It will be noted that this complaint refers to the broadcast on 9 August 1993, before the
broadcaster would have received Decision No: 93/93 (coincidentally dated 9 August
1993), and that the programme has increased from ½ an hour to 1 hour and is shown at
a later hour.
It should also be noted that this complaint does not focus on the prohibition of the
saturation of liquor promotion – as did the above three – but on the components in
standard A3 which were not included in the standards under which the earlier complaints
When it referred this current complaint to the Authority about the broadcast on 9 August
1993, GOAL alleged that in addition to the standard A3.b aspect of the complaint which
CTV upheld, the interview with Mr Barry Eade about the sport of pool breached standard
A3.c as there were two liquor promotions clearly visible behind him. As the position for
filming Mr Eade had been "carefully contrived" to allow the liquor promotions to be seen,
GOAL alleged that A3.a had been contravened also. Moreover, if the sports body which
organised the pool competition was a member of the New Zealand Sports Assembly, there
appeared to be a breach of standard A3.d.
The A3.c prohibition on unduly focussing on advertising signage during an on-location
event was the first aspect of the complaint the Authority considered and, upon viewing the
item, the Authority upheld it. Indeed, no effort seemed to have been made to meet the
overriding requirement in standard A3 that the incidental promotion of liquor be
minimised It appeared that the interviewee had been positioned to ensure that his head
was framed by two large liquor signs. Moreover, the interview had taken place at a site
where (because of the empty surroundings) it would not have been difficult for the
interviewee to have sat or stood elsewhere to ensure that any incidental liquor promotion
screened was minimised.
The Authority then assessed the aspect of the complaint which alleged a breach of standard
A3.a. The standard has two limbs and requires that the incidental promotion of liquor be
contrived and that the broadcaster be a party to the arrangement for the broadcast of the
Because of the way the interviewee had been positioned in order to allow the signs to be
seen during the broadcast, the Authority decided that the liquor promotion which had
been broadcast was a "contrived" part of the programme in breach of the first requirement
in standard A3.a.
The second limb required the Authority to decide whether or not CTV was party to a
"contract or arrangement" for the incidental promotion of liquor. In a number of
previous decisions, the Authority has considered what explicit level of agreement is
necessary for an "arrangement" within the meaning of standard A3.a to be present.
However, as it has not been necessary to determine precisely the components of an
"arrangement" in the earlier decisions, the Authority has not ruled conclusively on the
point. A minority, however, has indicated some sympathy with GOAL's argument that
"control" by the broadcaster of the situation which is portrayed is sufficient to amount to
Despite the absence of a previous decision which has defined the outer boundaries of a
"contract or arrangement", the Authority unanimously is of the opinion that an
arrangement which involves the exchange of money or some other consideration is
sufficient. In other words, if "payment" of some kind was involved, the requirement in
standard A3.a would be met.
In deciding whether "payment" was involved on this occasion, the Authority referred back
to Decision No: 69/93 when it stated:
When determining that complaint, the Authority had been provided with part of
the agreement between CTV and DB in which the brewery specifically declined to
pay a fee for sponsorship.
That Decision continued by explaining the effect of the agreement:
Rather [DB] agreed to buy commercials and/or trailers for the show each week the
cost of which was based on the ratings for the show. The sponsorship was not
regarded as a specific aspect of payment made by the liquor company for its
association with the programme. As stated in the Agreement:
In return we [DB] receive the sponsorship as added value in recognition of
Whereas in that complaint, CTV denied that this arrangement amounted to payment, the
Authority decided DB benefitted from the "added value" of the sponsorship. It recorded:
In other words, the distinction between the liquor promotion explicitly paid for,
and the liquor promotion which was not explicitly paid for, is a technical or
semantic one. As sponsorship was expected by DB as part of the programme which
was broadcast, its removal was not a matter entirely at the broadcaster's whim.
Accepting that the wording in the agreement was not specifically designed to circumvent
the liquor advertising rules then extant, the Authority added:
Acknowledging that the agreement between DB and CTV was written in a way to
advance the commercial interests of the sponsor and the broadcaster and taking
the injunction about the spirit of the rules into account, the Authority concluded
that the sponsorship rewards accorded the sponsor of DB Sport were linked to and
constituted part of the formal arrangement between DB and CTV.
The Authority concluded:
Supporting the Authority's conclusion that the sponsorship arrangement amounted
to payment, the Authority again recorded that the arrangement between DB and
CTV did not refer to payment for the sponsorship but recognised that the
sponsorship was of benefit to the liquor company. The sponsorship promoted DB
and, for the want of a better term, increased the goodwill between the parties.
Goodwill is a recognised economic asset and, accordingly, its increase to the parties
can be regarded as a payment within the requirements of the legislative definition.
Applying that conclusion to the current complaint, the Authority decided that, as
"payment" in effect had been made, CTV had been party to a "contract or arrangement"
for incidental liquor promotion.
Consequently, as both limbs of A3.a had been met, the Authority upheld that aspect of the
The final part of the complaint referred to the Authority alleged a breach of standard A3.d
in that the broadcast breached section 1 of the Voluntary Sports Code. GOAL complained
under this provision in view of the probability that "the sporting body which organised the
pool event" was a member of the New Zealand Sports Assembly. As CTV did not ascertain
this point, it declined to determine this aspect of the complaint.
Had the body organising the event been a member of the New Zealand Sports Assembly,
the Authority concluded, it would have been in breach of standard 1.6 of the New Zealand
Sports Assembly's Voluntary Sports Code for Liquor Advertising and Promotion on
Television. It reads:
1.6 Backdrops for Tour/Event Announcements or Interviews
Backdrops shall focus on the specific team, event or tour and may
incorporate sponsorship logos. Backdrops shall not be a predominant
feature. There shall be no reference to liquor advertisements.
At pre-arranged interviews the placement of the interviewee shall not have
liquor signage as a predominant feature.
However, the Authority has been advised by the Sports Assembly that the event portrayed
was organised – not by a member of the national organisation – but by a particular club
which was not a party to the Voluntary Code. Accordingly, the Authority decided, the
broadcast did not breach standard A3.d.
For the reasons given above, the Authority upholds the complaint that the
broadcast by Canterbury Television Ltd of the programme DB Sport on 9
August 1993 breached standards A3.a and A3.c of the Programme
Standards for the Promotion of Liquor.
In addition, the Authority upholds the complaint that the action taken by
the broadcaster, having upheld the complaint under standard A3.b, was
The Authority declines to uphold the A3.d aspect of the complaint.
Having upheld a complaint, the Authority may make an order under s.13(1)(d) of the
Broadcasting Act 1989. Although CTV had not received Decision No: 93/93 at the time of
the broadcast complained about, it was aware from the earlier decisions that two other
complaints about the programme DB Sport had been upheld and that the Authority was
considering a complaint about a third. It was also aware that the standards under which
the third complaint was being assessed were more specific in what was required to
minimise the incidental promotion of liquor.
In the Authority's opinion, the present breaches confirm CTV's apparent cavalier approach
to the requirements about incidental liquor promotion and reflect its disdain for both the
specifics and the spirit of the standards.
Accordingly, the Authority has decided that it is appropriate to order the broadcast by CTV
of a statement summarising this decision and explaining the rationale for the standard
relating to the incidental promotion of liquor. As a consequence, the statement to be
broadcast shall include reference to the overall requirement that the incidental promotion
of liquor be minimised on radio and television. It shall note that, because of the potentially
powerful impact of the electronic media, such minimisation is required to reduce the
exposure of liquor promotion especially to the young and to reduce the social and health
problems which result from the misuse of alcohol.
The Authority also records that the words of standard A3.a will be revised during the
current review of the standards applicable to the incidental promotion of liquor to clarify
what is exactly meant by the phrase "contract or arrangement".
The Authority orders CTV to broadcast on DB Sport within 14 days of the
date of this decision a statement approved by the Authority which is a
summary of this decision and which also includes the rationale for the
standard which requires that incidental liquor promotion be minimised.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority
5 April 1994
GOAL's Complaint to Canterbury Television Limited
In a letter dated 23 August 1993, the Secretary of the Group Opposed to Advertising of
Liquor (GOAL), Mr Cliff Turner, complained to Canterbury Television Ltd about a number
of aspects of the programme DB Sport broadcast at 9.00pm on Monday 9 August.
The complaint was laid under the additional programme standards for the control of
liquor promotion on radio and television dated April 1993 for which the Broadcasting
Standards Authority was responsible at the time. Following the enactment of the
Broadcasting Amendment Act 1993, the additional standards have been incorporated into
either the Advertising Standards Authority Code for Advertising Liquor (about which
complaints are considered by the Advertising Standards Complaints Board (ASCB)) or the
Programme Standards for the Promotion of Liquor (for which the Broadcasting Standards
Authority is responsible). Thus, some of the matters raised in the original complaint are
not now covered by the Broadcasting Standards Authority although when Mr Turner
referred GOAL's complaint to the Authority, he confined the referral to matters within the
In its original letter of complaint, GOAL raised five matters under additional standards
14.a, 14.b, 14.c, 14.d and 13.b. The first four are now programme standards A3.a, A3.b,
A3.c and A3.d for which the Authority remains responsible and the fifth, under standard
13.b, is now standard 11.g of the ASA code and the ASCB's responsibility.
Under standard 14.b (A3.b), GOAL complained that the studio backdrop behind the
presenter promoted Dominion Breweries. Standard 14.c (A3.c) was contravened because
two DB promotions were clearly visible behind Mr Eade, a representative from the sport of
pool who was being interviewed. As that interview was contrived, it breached standard
14.a (A3.a). Further, the sport of pool had breached the Voluntary Sports Code which was
a breach of standard 14.d (A3.d).
Finally, as standard 13.b (ASA 11.g) allows a brief portrayal only of the sponsor's name,
the display of a DB promotion for 40 seconds was in breach.
CTV's Response to the Formal Complaint
CTV advised GOAL of its decision in a letter dated 15 November when it reported that the
complaint had been considered under the nominated standards.
CTV upheld the complaint under standard 14.b (A3.b), adding that it proposed to discuss
the matter with the advertiser "with a view to adjusting the format of the programme".
It declined to uphold the aspects of the complaint about the interview with Mr Eade as it
had not unduly focussed on the liquor signage, as it was not contrived and as it was not
aware that a member of the New Zealand Sports Assembly was involved. In addition, it did
not accept that a 40 second exposure contravened standard 13.b (ASA 11.g).
Reporting that it intended to draw the attention of the camera staff to the requirement of
standard 14.c (A3.c), CTV concluded:
Notwithstanding our rejection of certain aspects of your complaint, we will take
the whole format of the programme up with the advertiser with a view to altering
it to increase its compliance with the standards.
At the same time we have instructed our solicitors with a view to obtaining judicial
review of these additional standards, which appear to unfairly target this
programme, as against other liquor advertising far more likely to have adverse
consequences to susceptible viewers.
GOAL's Complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority
Dissatisfied with CTV's decision both on the aspects of the complaint not upheld which are
now covered by standard A3 and on the action taken on the aspect upheld, Mr Turner on
GOAL's behalf referred the complaint to the Authority on 22 November 1993.
In regard to CTV's proposed action on the aspect upheld, Mr Turner expressed his
displeasure that it would involve discussions with the advertiser only. He wrote:
CTV should have said that the use of the backdrop would cease immediately.
CTV's Response to the Authority
As is its practice, the Authority sought the broadcaster's response to the complaint. Its
letter is dated 24 November 1993 and CTV's reply, 9 December.
CTV reported that since the date of transmission, the programme's format had been
further revised to comply with the Codes. The changes had included the elimination of the
DB backdrop from the set.
GOAL's Final Comment to the Authority
When asked to comment on CTV's reply, in a letter dated 17 December 1993 Mr Turner,
on GOAL's behalf, argued that CTV had not addressed the complaint other than to change
its backdrops although, nevertheless, the DB logo still appeared as part of the studio