Group Opposed to Advertising of Liquor and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1994-123
- I W Gallaway (Chair)
- W J Fraser
- L M Loates
- J R Morris
- Group Opposed to Advertising of Liquor (GOAL)
ProgrammeOne World of Sport
BroadcasterTelevision New Zealand Ltd
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority
1 December 1994
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
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
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
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
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
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.