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Binge Drinking Ads To Play Only In Adult Viewing

Binge Drinking Ads To Play Only In Adult Viewing Times

MAY 22 2008

The Alcohol Advisory Council is to limit the screening of all three of its controversial binge drinking television ads to adult viewing times.

The move follows a ruling from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upholding complaints against one of the ads that features an intoxicated man in the pub accidently elbowing a barmaid. The concerns related to the time the ad played with complainants arguing the ads contained scenes of violence not suitable for children. The ASA has asked ALAC to limit screening of the ad to after 8.30pm. Rulings by the ASA have no legal status but ALAC acting Chief Executive Dr Andrew Hearn announced today ALAC would limit screening of all three ads to after 8.30pm.

The ASA dismissed complaints about another ad featuring a drunken woman being dragged by a man down an alley way. The ASA noted the third ALAC ad where a child was accidently hit against a cupboard after being swung around by the intoxicated man had already been rescheduled to adult viewing after discussions between the TV channels, ALAC and its advertising agency.

“ALAC is disappointed that the commercials won’t be seen more widely,” said ALAC acting Chief Executive Andrew Hearn. “However, the rating process is not carried out by us and is therefore beyond our control.”

Dr Hearn said ALAC had thought long and hard about the approach taken by these commercials. ALAC believed it had done all it could to be socially responsible but would agree to the ASA’s request and in fact would ensure all three ads played after 8.30pm.

“We believe they needed to be hard-hitting to make people realise just how destructive and dangerous binge drinking is,” he said. “We acknowledge these commercials are unpleasant but so are the consequences of binge drinking. The ads mirror what is happening, unfortunately, every week around this country.”

Dr Hearn said the original rating for the commercials was decided by the TVCAB which is a regulatory body that helps guide advertisers as to what is appropriate to go to air and when.

TVCAB’s ruling, which guided ALAC’s placement of the ads, specified that the ads could play at any time except during programmes specially designed for children under 10 years old, he said.

“During focus testing of the commercials, participants, who included parents, were asked whether they thought the commercials should be shown during prime time. While some were uncomfortable with very young children seeing the ads, all felt that screening the ads during family viewing time had the advantage of providing a talking point to educate older children and teens about the harmful effects of drinking too much.”

However, given the ASA ruling we will accept their request.

“As the ads are part of an integrated package getting New Zealanders to realise that binge drinking affects all sectors of the population, we have decided to also only play the third ad after 8.30.

To leave the ad featuring an intoxicated woman playing during general viewing time could result in some people thinking that binge drinking was only related to women.”

In a split decision the ASA upheld the complaint against the man in the pub ad. The majority of the Complaints Board agreed that, in screening before 8.30 pm, the ad breached the breached the Code of Social Responsibility. They felt that screening after 8.30pm did not breach the code. A minority of the board believed it had been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility and did not breach the code even when played in the earlier timeslot. They noted restriction to adult viewing would stop day viewing during ‘G’ classification when a large part of the target audience was watching.

Complaints against a second ad featuring a man accidently hitting a child against were ruled as settled. The ASA noted that that after discussions between TVCAB, the television channels, ALAC and its advertising agency it had been agreed the ad would only play after 8.30. The board “noted the socially responsible self regulatory action taken to reclassify the ad and agreed this addressed the concerns of the complaints.”

Complaints against a third ad featuring an intoxicated woman leaving a pub being pulled down an alley way by a man were not upheld.


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