BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Group Opposed to Advertising of Liquor and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1994-123

Members
  • I W Gallaway (Chair)
  • W J Fraser
  • L M Loates
  • J R Morris
Dated
Complainant
  • Group Opposed to Advertising of Liquor (GOAL)
Number
1994-123
Programme
One World of Sport
Channel/Station
TV One
Standards Breached


Summary

At the conclusion of extracts from the Auckland v Taranaki rugby game on One World

of Sport on 13 August, a shot of a comic character lumbering along the touchline

dressed as a beer can was shown.

The Secretary for the Group Opposed to Advertising of Liquor (GOAL), Mr Turner,

complained to Television New Zealand Ltd, the broadcaster, that as the visuals clearly

portrayed a beer can of an identifiable brand, the broadcast breached the standards

relating to the incidental promotion of liquor in both the Programme Standards and the

Voluntary Sports Code.

Maintaining that the exposure of liquor promotion was minimised as required by the

Programme Standards and that the Voluntary Sports Code did not deal with the dress

of entertainers, TVNZ declined to uphold the complaint. Dissatisfied with TVNZ's

response, Mr Turner on GOAL's behalf 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 one aspect of the complaint.


Decision

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.

An edited package of highlights of that afternoon's rugby game between Auckland and

Taranaki was broadcast on One World of Sport at about 4.15pm on 13 August. Near

the conclusion of the package, a shot of a person dressed as a beer can lumbering near

the touchline was shown. The comic character turned around twice and on each

occasion the costume was shown to be a model of a can of DB Export beer.


GOAL's spokesperson, Mr Turner, complained to TVNZ that the portrayal of that

comic character breached both standard A3.c of the Programme Standards for the

Promotion of Liquor and Rule 1 of the Voluntary Sports code. As a breach of rule 1,

he added, it was also a breach of standard A3.d of the Programme Standards. The

standards provide:

A3  Broadcasters will ensure that the incidental promotion of liquor is

minimised and in particular:


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.


GOAL argued that comic characters were part of the ground signage and the relevant

aspect of the Voluntary Sports Code states in part:

1.1 Ground Signage

Care must be taken to ensure that ground signage is balanced and does not

give the impression of saturation. Standard ground hoardings may carry

advertising positioning statements. Other ground signage is limited to the

use of logos and, when appropriate, a statement of sponsorship support

of the team or event.


The rule goes on to list the acceptable features of venue signage. It does not refer to

the dress of other people near the field of play.

TVNZ reported that the character dressed as a beer can was shown to reflect the "fun

and frivolity" at the rugby game. As the shot of the DB logo on the can costume was

only 1_ seconds in length, it continued, it had complied with the overriding

requirement in standard A3 to minimise the exposure of liquor promotion. Because of

the brevity of the shot, it had not focussed on the can "unduly" in contravention of

standard A3.c. As the Voluntary Sports Code did not cover the dress of the

entertainers, TVNZ said that rule 1 of the Voluntary Sports Code had not been

breached.

When he referred GOAL's complaint to the Authority, Mr Turner argued that

"unduly" should be defined as "in contradiction of moral or legal standards". Thus, by

acting illegally in focussing on incidental liquor promotion, he argued that TVNZ had

focussed unduly on such promotion.

In considering this definitional point, the Authority accepted the Concise Oxford

definition of "duly" as "rightly, properly, fitly" as the type of behaviour with which

the standard is concerned. "Unduly", the word used in the standard, the Authority

decided, does not in the context mean "illegal".

The Authority noted that the broadcast of the comic characters was included as part

of an edited package of highlights of a rugby game. The full game had earlier been

broadcast by Sky Television. The Authority was of the view that regardless of which

broadcaster compiled the package, there had been an opportunity to delete all

incidental liquor promotion. Had it been decided to retain some shots of the comic

characters in order to portray the atmosphere of the game, the Authority considered

that shots showing the character before it turned around to reveal the specific brand

name could have been screened.

In dealing with the specific aspects of the complaint, the Authority agreed with

TVNZ that rule 1 of the Voluntary Sports Code was not applicable as it does not refer

to comic characters. As rule 1 had not been transgressed, the broadcast did not

contravene standard A3.d.

As for the alleged breach of standard A3.c, the Authority considered first the

overriding principle in standard A3 which requires that the incidental promotion of

liquor be minimised. While acknowledging that the screening of the DB logo was brief,

the Authority was of the view that, in an edited package, it should not have been

screened at all. Accordingly, as incidental liquor promotion had not been minimised,

the principle set out in standard A3 had been breached. As the person wearing the can

costume deliberately turned around to expose the logo to the camera, the Authority

was of the opinion that the broadcast had "unduly" focussed on the logo in

contravention of standard A3.c. The portrayal of the logo, it believed, should have

been deleted during the editing.

 

For the reasons given above, the Authority upholds the complaint that the

broadcast by Television New Zealand Ltd of an edited package of highlights of

the Taranaki v Auckland rugby game on One World of Sport on 13 August 1994

breached standard A3.c of the Programme Standards for the Promotion of

Liquor.


It declines to uphold any other aspect of the complaint.


Having upheld a complaint, the Authority may make an order under s.13(1) of the

Broadcasting Act 1989. On the basis that the offending aspect of the broadcast was

brief, the Authority decided not to impose an order on this occasion.

The applicability of the Voluntary Sports Code to entertainers dressed in uniforms

which involve incidental liquor promotion is an issue which the Authority is

considering during the current review of the Programme Standards for the Promotion

of Liquor.

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Iain Gallaway
Chairperson
1 December 1994


Appendix

GOAL's Complaint to Television New Zealand Limited - 14 August 1994

The Secretary of the Group Opposed to Advertising of Liquor (GOAL), Mr Cliff

Turner, complained to Television New Zealand Ltd about an incident in the coverage

of the Auckland v Taranaki rugby match on One World of Sport at about 4.10pm on

13 August.

Clothing in the shape of beer cans with comic faces was being worn around the ground.

On two occasions, Mr Turner stated, one of the cans turned around and:

... on each occasion a facsimile of an Export Gold beer can was seen.

That portrayal, he continued, was in breach of standard A3.c of the Programme

Standards for the Promotion of Liquor and section 1 of the Voluntary Sports Code.

As a breach of the Voluntary Sports Code, he wrote, it was also a breach of standard

A3.d of the Programme Standards.

TVNZ's Response to the Formal Complaint - 13 September 1994

Explaining to GOAL that the shots were edited highlights of a sports event shown

earlier that day on Sky Television, TVNZ said when reporting its Complaints

Committee's decision:

The shot of the character dressed as a beer can was included to reflect for the

television audience the atmosphere of fun and frivolity which accompanied the

rugby fixture. The shot was extremely short - the DB logo is visible for a mere

1.5 seconds.

As the shot was brief, TVNZ maintained that it had complied with the requirement to

minimise the exposure of incidental liquor promotion. As the sign had not been

unduly focussed on, standard A3.c had not been contravened.

As section 1 the Voluntary Sports Code did not refer to the dress of entertainers - but

to the apparel of players and ground signage - TVNZ said the Code and standard

A3.d, had not been breached.

GOAL's Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority - 15 September 1994

Dissatisfied with TVNZ's response, on GOAL's behalf Mr Turner referred the

complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting

Act 1989.

Replying to TVNZ's point that liquor promotion was minimised, Mr Turner argued

that liquor promotion was "only minimised when it is eradicated". On this occasion,

the camera left the field to concentrate on the cans and, as an edited package, Mr

Turner argued that it should have been omitted.

On the basis that one Collins Dictionary definition of the word "unduly" was "in

contravention of moral and legal standards", Mr Turner said that as it could be argued

that as the broadcaster acted illegally in focussing on the signage, it had acted

"unduly".

As for TVNZ's argument that the Voluntary Sports Code did not refer to entertainers,

Mr Turner wrote:

I strongly dispute the argument advanced by TVNZ ... . It is highly likely that

the can-men were present as a result of an agreement between a sports body

and Dominion Breweries. By being present at the ground the cans became a

part of ground signage, but do not appear to be within the scope of what is

permitted by the Sports Assembly code.

TVNZ's Response to the Authority - 27 September 1994

Repeating the circumstances outlined in its letter of 13 September to GOAL advising

the Complaints Committee's decision, TVNZ commented:

We have nothing to add except to note that in claiming that "the camera left the

field of play to concentrate on the cans" GOAL is taking considerable liberties

with the English language. The shot is very short and the DB logo is visible for

only 1.5 seconds.

GOAL's Final Comment to the Authority - 2 October 1994

When asked, GOAL declined to comment on TVNZ's letter.