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Pizza Haven Says Ads Unfairly Branded

MEDIA RELEASE 31 May 2000

PIZZA HAVEN SAYS ADS UNFAIRLY BRANDED

An Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) decision to ban two Pizza Haven ads because they encourage violence is missing the point, according to Pizza Haven.

Last week, the ASA upheld complaints that two of the company's television commercials - one showing a woman being branded and the other being 'shocked' - contravened regulations that advertisements should not display unprovoked attacks on people. A third commercial, in which a Pizza Haven delivery boy 'tackles' the competition, was approved to continue.

But joint managing director of the family owned company, Bill Christou, says the ASA has totally missed the point of the commercials.

"We don't believe that the public have taken these ads seriously and we are stunned that the ASA has taken the extreme act of banning them," Mr Christou said.

He added that the award winning advertisements were designed to poke fun at themselves. "Since when have New Zealanders stopped ads which have a bit of attitude. Toyota's Bugger ad implied violence to cows, but that still ran."

"We're not encouraging people to go out branding or shocking others. Far from it. Our ads are very much tongue-in-cheek," Mr Christou said. "We aim to inject a little fun into the pizza business rather than simply replaying ads that come out of the US, like some of our competitors."

And, he added, the company will continue to make edgy, original advertisements. "Anecdotal evidence shows that most people love these ads and respond to the humour in them."

Primarily aimed at people aged 18 to 25, the commercials were cleared for broadcast in New Zealand and Australia by the Television Commercials Approval Bureau at the beginning of the year. Complaints to the Australian Advertising Standards Board that the commercials were 'offensive' were not upheld and they continue to run across the Tasman.

However, complaints from television viewers here have now resulted in the advertisements, which began running in March, being pulled last week.

Pizza Haven intends to appeal the ruling.

"Our research showed that no reasonable viewer would be likely to believe that the advertisements depict anything other than paid actors taking part in safely controlled fictitious and absurd scenarios, or that Pizza Haven wishes to encourage people to adopt the behaviour shown," Mr Christou said.

"There is far more offensive violence on television than a few tongue-in-cheek ads," he added. "We're very disappointed with the ruling. Most viewer across Australia and New Zealand have seen the humorous side of the antics and we'd like to say to the authority - 'Don't take these ads too seriously. They're meant to be a bit of fun'."

ends

For further information, please contact: Simon Burley Marketing Manager Pizza Haven Tel: 00618 84433000 Mob: 0061 418 858 414


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