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 - 1995-024

Members
  • I W Gallaway (Chair)
  • W J Fraser
  • L M Loates
Dated
Complainant
  • Group Opposed to Advertising of Liquor (GOAL)
Number
1995-024
Programme
One World of Sport
Channel/Station
TV One


Summary

A one-day cricket match between Wellington and Canterbury was broadcast on TV1's

One World of Sport between 10.00am–6.00pm on 11 January 1995.

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

complained to Television New Zealand Ltd, the broadcaster, that the liquor logos on

the players' clothing were not "reasonably sized" and that showing the players for the

full game with the logos on their clothing amounted to the saturation of liquor

promotion.

Maintaining that the liquor logos were the size approved by New Zealand Cricket and

that the broadcast had not focussed on the logos but on the players, TVNZ declined

to uphold the complaint. Dissatisfied with TVNZ's decision, 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 below, the Authority declined to uphold the complaint.


Decision

The members of the Authority have viewed part of the item complained about to

ensure that they appreciated the matters referred to in the complaint. They have also

read the correspondence (summarised in the Appendix). As is its practice, the

Authority has determined the complaint without a formal hearing.

The Wellington and Canterbury one-day cricket teams are both sponsored by liquor

companies and each sponsor's name is carried on the back of the shirts worn by

players. A game between these teams was broadcast on television between 10.00am–

6.00pm on 11 January 1995.

Mr Cliff Turner, secretary of GOAL, complained to TVNZ that liquor brand names

on the players' clothing were so large and seen so often that it amounted to the

saturation of liquor promotion in contravention of standard A1 of the Programme

Standards for the Promotion of Liquor. Moreover, Mr Turner continued, the

excessive size of the liquor logo on the clothing breached the requirement in standard

1.3.3 of the Voluntary Sports Code which allowed only "reasonably sized" logos on

competition apparel.

It appears from the correspondence that the complainant and the broadcaster might

have used both the old and new Codes dealing with the Promotion of Liquor.

Although the presentation differs, with regard to the issues raised by this complaint

the requirements are identical and the extracts cited by the Authority below are taken

from the new Code.

TVNZ assessed the complaint under the standards nominated by Mr Turner. The

applicable provision of standard A1 reads:

A1  Saturation of liquor promotions, separately or in combination, must be

avoided.


The definition section of the standards provides:


"Saturation" refers to a degree of exposure which gives the impression that

liquor promotion is dominating that viewing or listening period.


Rule 1.3.3 of the Voluntary Sports Code begins:


1.3.3 Competition Apparel


Reasonably sized logos as defined by international and national rules are

permitted on the following areas:


It then lists eight different parts of a sports uniform.

Footnote 6 of the Programme Standards for the Promotion of Liquor records:

6. Rules 1.1–1.6 of the Voluntary Sports Code for Liquor Advertising and

Promotion on Television cover the positioning and amount of ground

signage, product usage on camera, the size of logos on uniforms of players

and administrators when they are filmed for television broadcasts and the

wearing of branded sports apparel on other, non-sport related television

programmes. The broadcast of material which breaches Rules 1.1 - 1.6 of

the Voluntary Sports Code or the principles of the Compliance Addendum

to that code will almost invariably breach the Programme Standards for

the Promotion of Liquor, particularly A1 and A3.


Standard A1 is given above. Standard A3 reads:

A3  Broadcasters will ensure that the incidental promotion of liquor is

minimised.


Pointing out that the size of the logos on the uniforms was approved by New Zealand

Cricket – and moreover had recently been decreased because of concerns expressed by

the Broadcasting Standards Authority – TVNZ said that the logos complied with the

national guidelines. Consequently, TVNZ reported, they were reasonably sized.


As for the saturation aspect, TVNZ said it was evident from the camera work that a

considerable effort had been expended to minimise the exposure of the logos. While it

was not possible to avoid close-ups of players in action, it added that for a

considerable amount of the time the players were seen in either wide or elevated shots

in which the logos were so small as to be insignificant. It declined to uphold the

complaint.

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

saturation was the central issue and, because of the logos on the uniforms, he

maintained that the saturation of liquor promotion was an inevitable consequence of a

satisfactory day's coverage of the game.

As for the issue as to whether the logos were reasonably sized, he contended that the

rule was of no value if a sport's governing body was able to decide what was

reasonable.

In its response to the Authority on the complaint, TVNZ attached a report from New

Zealand Cricket which recorded that the logos complied with Council's regulations.

Disputing GOAL's argument that saturation of incidental liquor promotion was

inevitable during a cricket game, TVNZ maintained that the logos were clearly visible

and reasonably sized for no more than three or four percent of broadcast time. It

noted that close-ups were mainly front-on views and many of the shots which

showed the logos on the cricketers' backs were either wide or elevated and the logos

were therefore not conspicuous.

In his final comment to the Authority, when addressing the issue of reasonably sized

logos, Mr Turner wrote:

I would define a reasonably sized logo to be what a reasonable person would

regard as a reasonably sized logo. This does not necessarily mean that I consider

myself to be a reasonable person. It means that I believe that the Authority

should take into account the normally accepted meaning of the word

"reasonable" rather than accept TVNZ's view that reasonable means whatever

NZ Cricket has decided it means.


Dealing first with this point, the Authority agreed fully with Mr Turner when he

argued that it should not accept without question New Zealand Cricket's definition of

what was a reasonable size. While the Authority will require confirmation that logos

comply with any requirements laid down by a particular sport's governing body, it

certainly does not accept that that governing body is the arbiter. When a complaint

alleges a breach of standards A1 or A3 because of a broadcaster's failure to comply

with rule 1.3.3, the Authority retains the right to determine whether or not any

particular logo is reasonably sized.

Adopting that approach, the Authority was of the view that while the size of the

logos were at the borders of what could be regarded as reasonable, they were not over

that limit. Accordingly, it declined to uphold the complaint that the broadcast

breached rule 1.3.3 of the Voluntary Sports Code and, consequently, standard A3 of

the Programme Standards.

The Authority then considered the saturation complaint which Mr Turner described

as the central issue. The Authority accepted that the standard could be contravened

during one-day cricket should liquor logos be shown regularly to such a degree –

whether on the players' uniforms or on signage around the ground – that the

impression of saturation was created. However, the Authority did not feel that had

occurred on this occasion. It believed that the game had been televised in a way which

showed individuals as they participated naturally in the action but did not linger

gratuitously or focus for an undue length of time on close-ups when liquor logos were

apparent either on the players' clothing or in background signage. Frequently, as

TVNZ explained, when there was no specific action to follow, the shots were wide or

elevated during which liquor logos on uniforms or signage were insignificant.

Indeed, as it is certainly possible for saturation of incidental liquor promotion to occur

during one-day cricket matches, the Authority wishes to commend TVNZ for the care

it displayed in endeavouring to ensure that the saturation standard was not

contravened.

 

For the above reasons, the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.


Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Iain Gallaway
Chairperson
12 April 1995


Appendix

GOAL's Complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd - 13 January 1995

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

complained to Television New Zealand Ltd about the coverage of the one-day cricket

match between Wellington and Canterbury broadcast on TV1 between 10.00am and

6.00pm on 11 January 1995.

Players from both teams, Mr Turner wrote, carried liquor brand names on their

clothing and, he continued:

These brand names were so large and were seen so often that I believe they

constituted a saturation of liquor promotions. The coverage thus seems to have

been in breach of Programme Standard A1.

He also referred to the requirement in rule 1.3.3 of the Voluntary Sports Code that

liquor-promoting logos on competition apparel be reasonably sized. Arguing that the

logos on the clothing worn by the players in his opinion could not be described as

"reasonably sized", he maintained that the broadcast was in breach of this requirement

too.

TVNZ's Response to the Formal Complaint - 9 February 1995

TVNZ assessed the complaint against standards A1 and A3 of Programme Standards

for the Promotion of Liquor issued in December 1994. The guidelines which are

appended to the Programme Standards note that breaches of rules 1.1 - 1.6 of the

Voluntary Sports Code "will almost invariably breach" the Standards.

Expressing the opinion that a central issue raised by the complainant was whether the

logos on the clothing complied with the national rules, TVNZ said that it had been

advised by New Zealand Cricket that the size of the logos came within the regulations.

Furthermore, New Zealand Cricket advised that the logo was smaller than had been

allowed in previous years as it had been conscious of the Broadcasting Standards

Authority's concerns in this area.

TVNZ then considered the complaint under the requirements in rules 1.3.1 and 1.3.2

of the Voluntary Sports Code and maintained that the logos complied with the

requirements. It also stated:

The effort to avoid saturation is also demonstrated in the camera work during

the cricket match. While it is not practical in a match of this sort to avoid close

ups of players in action, it is noted that for the greater part of the time players

are seen in wide shots or in elevated shots looking up and down the wicket -

shots in which the liquor logos become so small as to be insignificant.

TVNZ's Complaints Committee concluded that the cricket broadcast did not

contain sequences in which there was a saturation of liquor promotions and that

therefore Code A1 was not endangered.

As far as A3 is concerned, the committee believed the camera work throughout

the game, coupled with the effort by New Zealand Cricket to set a new, smaller

size of liquor logos, ensured that the incidental promotion of liquor was

minimised. The code was not considered to have been breached.

Expressing regret that offence had been taken, TVNZ declined to uphold the

complaint.

GOAL's Complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority - 14 February

1995

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.

Mr Turner noted that TVNZ had considered that the central issue was whether or not

the logos complied with the national rules. However, Mr Turner retorted: "This

question is not central to the complaint about saturation" and, he added:

Throughout the day, apart from the break between innings, 13 men were on the

field wearing highly visible brewery promotions on their backs. I contend that it

would have been impossible to provide satisfactory coverage of the game

without giving an impression of saturation of liquor promotion.

Moreover, while TVNZ had addressed the complaint as an alleged breach of rules

1.3.1 and 1.3.2 of the Voluntary Sports Code, it had failed to consider the matter

under rule 1.3.3 which was the standard nominated in the complaint. Mr Turner

concluded:

The question arises "what is a reasonable size for a logo?" If a reasonable size is

what a sport's governing body has unilaterally decided is a reasonable size then

the rule is of no value.

TVNZ's Response to the Authority - 8 March 1995

In its comments to the Authority on GOAL's complaint that the appearance of the

logos amounted to saturation and their size was not "reasonable", TVNZ attached a

letter from the chief executive of New Zealand Cricket stating explicitly that the logos

came within the national body's regulations.

In reply to GOAL's argument that saturation was inevitable when 13 men were on the

field, TVNZ contended that coverage of cricket concentrated on front-on views of

players. The logos were on the backs and wide or elevated shots were usually used to

show the players' backs. It noted:

The time when the logos on the back of cricketers are clearly visible and

reasonably-sized in the frame would amount to no more than three or four per

cent of broadcast time.

TVNZ concluded:

TVNZ believes it has complied with Authority requirements and has

successfully avoided an impression of saturation of liquor promotions during

this broadcast. It also believes (and the fax from New Zealand Cricket confirms)

that the logos were reasonably sized - that is they complied with national

regulations as discussed with the Authority last year.

GOAL's Final Comment to the Authority - 13 March 1995

Pointing out that TVNZ's argument involved accepting logos as reasonably sized if

they conformed to the regulations, Mr Turner on GOAL's behalf said that might mean

that a uniform could be covered by "reasonably sized" logos.

He continued:

I would define a reasonably sized logo to be what a reasonable person would

regard as a reasonably sized logo. This does not necessarily mean that I consider

myself to be a reasonable person. It means that I believe that the Authority

should take into account the normally accepted meaning of the word

"reasonable" rather than accept TVNZ's view that reasonable means whatever

NZ Cricket has decided it means.

Asking the Authority to take into account the length of the broadcast and referring to

a decision in 1993 when the Authority said that the appearance of small sponsorship

credit logos more frequently than once every three minutes gave the impression of

saturation, Mr Turner argued that the logos seen in the broadcast now complained

about were more intrusive than in the previous one and, consequently, were in breach

of the standards.