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 - 1995-107

Members
  • J M Potter (Chair)
  • R McLeod
  • L M Loates
Dated
Complainant
  • Group Opposed to Advertising of Liquor
Number
1995-107
Channel/Station
TV2


Summary

The Auckland Warriors' home game against the Sydney Tigers featured in 2 Sports

Action: Lion Big Red League broadcast by TV2 from 6.00–7.30pm on 4 June 1995.


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

complained to Television New Zealand Ltd that the broadcast breached the standards,

first, as the incidental promotion of liquor was not minimised and, secondly, as the

incidental promotion when combined with the sponsorship credits displayed

amounted to the saturation of liquor promotion.

Maintaining that the frequency of the broadcast of the sponsorship credits complied

with the Authority's guidelines and that the incidental promotion seen was a "normal

feature" of the event, TVNZ declined to uphold the complaint. Dissatisfied with

TVNZ's decision, on GOAL's behalf Mr Turner 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 the item 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.

2 Sports Action: Lion Big Red League was shown on TV2 from 6.00–7.30pm on 4

June 1995. It involved the broadcast of the Warriors' home game against the Sydney

Tigers played in Auckland that afternoon.

On behalf of GOAL, Mr Turner complained that the broadcast breached the

Programme Standards for the Promotion of Liquor. Specifically, he maintained, the

shots of the drummers each wearing a Warriors' jersey carrying the DB logo breached

the requirement that the incidental promotion of liquor be minimised. Overall, he

argued, the visual and verbal liquor promotions, the size of the sponsorship credits,

the drummers' clothing, the ground signage, and the DB logos visible on the players'

uniforms breached the requirement to avoid the saturation of liquor promotions. Mr

Turner accepted that the 26 visual and verbal promotions during the 90 minute

coverage did not breach the one in three minute allowance but, he contended, when

combined with the other incidental liquor promotions, the saturation prohibition was

transgressed.

TVNZ assessed the complaint against the nominated standards. They read:

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

be avoided.

A3  Broadcasters will ensure that the incidental promotion of liquor is

minimised.


As for the shots of the drummers, TVNZ argued that while it was required to

minimise the incidental promotion of liquor, guideline 8 of the standards accepted that

some incidental promotions were a normal feature of the situation being televised.

Guideline 8 reads:

8. Television broadcasters must film events in such a manner as to

minimise the incidental promotion of liquor even when they are

broadcasting in situations where they have little or no control over

liquor promotions such as the placement of signage at sports events,

the placement of backdrops for news conferences or the wearing of

branded apparel. If the liquor promotion is so extensive that the

activity or individual cannot be filmed, despite the best efforts of the

camera crew, without the blatant intrusion of liquor promotions, the

broadcast of that material will breach A3. However, standard A3 is not

intended to require the total exclusion of all incidental promotions

when they are a normal feature of the situation being televised.


The visuals of the drummers, TVNZ maintained, were a normal part of the coverage

which included portraying the atmosphere of the occasion.

Explaining that it was careful to comply with the one in three minute rule, TVNZ said

the other signage was a "normal feature" and thus the broadcast did not create an

impression of saturation of liquor promotions.

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

the one in three minute allowance was created to deal with incidental liquor promotion

in the form of roundels on the corner of the screen rather than sponsorship credits

which not only filled the screen but appeared part way through a commercial break.

The drummers, he continued, were a breach of standard A3 given the Authority's

decision to uphold a complaint when the coverage of a rugby game included some

shots of a person dressed up as a beer can.

TVNZ's report to the Authority included the following comment:

We acknowledge that a certain amount of incidental liquor promotion is seen in

live brewery-sponsored coverage of this and other rugby league fixtures in which

the brewery-sponsored Auckland Warriors are competing. As a result of earlier

decisions by the Broadcasting Standards Authority TVNZ is acutely aware of

its responsibilities concerning the incidental advertising of liquor and on this

occasion, as on others, has made every effort to comply with earlier guidelines

set out by the Authority while at the same time providing common sense

coverage for an audience for whom – in the main – the game is the thing.


Besides acknowledging that GOAL had ceased to exist, Mr Turner responded in part:

TVNZ speaks of "common sense coverage". If common sense coverage involves

the screening of a great deal of incidental liquor promotion TVNZ could have

reduced the impression of saturation by eliminating or drastically reducing the

number of sponsorship credits. The credits that were broadcast in the middle of

commercial breaks, telling viewers that Lion Red Big League would be back after

the break, were an obvious target for elimination.


The one specific liquor promotion each three minutes – when averaged over the full

game – was set by the Authority in 1993 following a series of complaints about the

broadcast of Australian rugby league games. Since the rule was laid down, the

Auckland Warriors have joined the Winfield Cup competition and, apparently,

TVNZ's coverage of rugby league has increased. It is true that roundels containing a

liquor company's logo were the dominant visual promotion at the time of the ruling

and that they have now been replaced with a full screen liquor promotion. Bearing in

mind the extensive use of incidental liquor promotion on television before brand

advertising was introduced, the Authority could well review the one promotion each

three minutes if it decided that the rule was being stretched.

However, at present, it accepts that TVNZ is acutely aware of its responsibilities.

Moreover, it takes as evidence of TVNZ's efforts the absence of complaints about the

broadcast of sporting events – especially those in which the Auckland Warriors have

been involved in 1995.

The Authority then examined the broadcast which had been complained about. The

drummers at the Warriors' home games have become a well-known feature and,

accordingly, the Authority decided that the relatively brief shot of them did not mean

that the incidental promotion of liquor had not been minimised. Unlike the "can man"

to which GOAL referred, the shot showed the drummers at their drums rather than an

advertising feature in which liquor promotion was at the fore.

The Authority reached a similar decision with regard to the saturation complaint. It is

aware that all parties, broadcasters, sponsors and GOAL, were concerned about the

extent of the beverage sponsorship which would be included on the Warriors' clothing,

equipment and around the ground before the team was being established. However,

having watched a full game, the Authority accepted that because the focus was on the

game, the broadcast did not give an impression of saturation of liquor promotions.

 

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


Nevertheless, despite that decision, the Authority noted that there was one aspect

about which it felt a little concern and that was the size and placement of the

sponsorship credits during the commercial breaks. They were much more intrusive

than the roundels which were the concern when the guideline was established and,

accordingly, played a bigger part in the Authority's decision about the impression of

saturation complaint. However, they did not in themselves contravene the standards

cited. Moreover, the Authority observes that the Advertising Standards Complaints

Authority (95/89) had declined to accept a complaint that the sponsorship credit

breached the ASA Code for Advertising Liquor.

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Judith Potter
Chairperson
12 October 1995


Appendix

GOAL's Complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd - 7 June 1995

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

complained to Television New Zealand Ltd about 2 Sports Action: Lion Big Red

League broadcast by TV2 at 6.00pm on 4 June.

At the beginning of the programme, he wrote, there were two sponsorship credits

shown without an interval and, consequently, the words "Lion Red" were on the

screen for 10 seconds. Not only did the Advertising Standards Authority's (ASA)

Code in Liquor Advertising require that the sponsor's name be mentioned only

briefly, the guidelines to the Broadcasting Standards Authority's Programme

Standards for the Promotion of Liquor suggested that a brief mention would not

exceed six seconds.

Secondly, he continued, three drummers wearing shirts bearing DB logos were seen

early in the broadcast. That amounted, he maintained, to a breach of the rule requiring

that the incidental promotion of liquor be minimised.

Thirdly, Mr Turner commented:

I counted 26 visual and oral liquor promotions during the 90 minute coverage.

The "allowance" for a programme of this duration is 30 such promotions. But

in addition to the 26 deliberately inserted promotions there was a great deal of

incidental liquor promotion. As already mentioned the drummers carried liquor

promotions on their clothing. The Warriors players were often seen in close-up

and the DB logos they carried were frequently highly visible. There was a

plethora of Dominion Breweries advertising around the ground.

In total, he concluded:

Taking all these liquor promotions together I believe that there was a saturation

of liquor promotions and that there was thus a breach of Programme Standard

A1.

In addition, Mr Turner said that the use of sponsorship credits in four commercial

breaks was a disturbing feature. They were inserted midway through the commercial

break, he noted, and a voice-over reminded viewers that Lion Red Big League would be

back after the break. The insertion of sponsorship credits during the commercial

breaks, he considered, was insidious and gratuitous.

TVNZ's Response to the Formal Complaint - 29 June 1995

Assessing the complaint under programme standards A1 and A3, TVNZ commented

that the title of the programme was a sponsorship credit about which GOAL had

complained to the Advertising Standards Complaints Board (ASCB). TVNZ also

pointed out that the "brief mention" requirement also came within the ASCB's

jurisdiction and the reference to six seconds in the Programme Standards referred to an

average display each three minutes which was not relevant to the broadcast

complained about.

As for the logos on the drummers' clothing, TVNZ maintained that they were

allowable under guideline 8 of the Standards which made it clear that standard A3 was

not intended to require the total exclusion of all incidental promotion. The drummers,

TVNZ continued, were a "normal feature" of the Warriors' live games.

As for the third point, TVNZ wrote:

In paragraph 3 you appear to acknowledge that the visual and oral promotions

were within the "allowance" for a programme of 90 minutes duration and indeed

TVNZ was careful to ensure that was so. As indicated above we believe the

liquor insignia seen in the crowd shots were a "normal feature" of the situation

being televised, and we suggest that the insignia of the Warriors (which we

acknowledge includes DB logos) must also be a "normal feature" of a match

involving that team.

Noting that the complaint concluded by again referring to sponsorship credits, TVNZ

recorded:

While TVNZ continues to respect and understand your commitment to the

reduction of liquor promotion on television, we believe that in this broadcast we

have complied with the programme standards and that there was no breach of

either A1 or A3.

GOAL's Complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority - 5 July 1995

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

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

Broadcasting Act 1989.

While accepting that the length of time that sponsorship credits were screened was an

issue for the ASCB, Mr Turner said it was also relevant when determining a saturation

complaint under standard A1. He also argued that the "three minute rule" was not

totally relevant as, when developed, it applied to roundels in the corner of the screen

rather than the intrusive credits visible on this occasion.

As for the shot of the drummers, Mr Turner argued that the shot equated with that of

the "DB canman" when the Authority upheld the complaint, partly because the

broadcast was not "live" and, therefore, could have been removed through editing. He

believed the same point applied on this occasion.

TVNZ's Response to the Authority - 14 August 1995

Apologising for the delay because of illness, TVNZ said that it had little to add to its

reply to GOAL dated 29 June. It wrote:

We acknowledge that a certain amount of incidental liquor promotion is seen in

live brewery-sponsored coverage of this and other rugby league fixtures in which

the brewery-sponsored Auckland Warriors are competing. As a result of earlier

decisions by the Broadcasting Standards Authority TVNZ is acutely aware of

its responsibilities concerning the incidental advertising of liquor and on this

occasion, as on others, has made every effort to comply with earlier guidelines

set out by the Authority while at the same time providing common sense

coverage for an audience for whom - in the main - the game is the thing.

GOAL's Final Comment to the Authority - 18 August 1995

Advising that GOAL sought a determination of the complaint although it had ceased

to exist, Mr Turner maintained that 26 deliberate sponsorship credits, which in

themselves did not contravene the saturation boundary, amounted to saturation when

combined with the other incidental liquor promotion visible. He commented:

TVNZ speaks of "common sense coverage". If common sense coverage involves

the screening of a great deal of incidental liquor promotion TVNZ could have

reduced the impression of saturation by eliminating or drastically reducing the

number of sponsorship credits. The credits that were broadcast in the middle of

commercial breaks, telling viewers that Lion Red Big League would be back after

the break, were an obvious target for elimination.

Mr Turner also maintained that the drummers wore clothing advertising DB which

was in breach of the standards in view of the DB can man ruling.