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Jacqui Dean's Advertising Complaint Upheld

Media Release
Tuesday March 7th, 2006.

Dean's Advertising Complaint Upheld

Posters using a fictional children's character to promote the sale of party pills have been removed around the country following a complaint laid by Otago National Party MP Jacqui Dean.

Mrs Dean contacted the authority in December after seeing a poster using the Mr Potato Head character in a Dunedin shop window.

In a decision just released the Advertising Standards Complaint Board noted that while the company, Energy Products Ltd, had voluntarily withdrawn the posters, the incident raised some serious matters.

It considered the ad in light of advertising codes for children and therapeutic products and found it did not live up to the high standards required for therapeutic products.

"I was extremely concerned to see images used designed to be attractive to young children to sell mind altering substances," she said.

Mrs Dean said the choice of character in the promotional material was "extremely disturbing".

"It's completely irresponsible and shows that such outlets are clearly employing marketing campaigns targeting younger audiences. This is not the sort of message we want young children in our community to be exposed to.

"Evidence shows that advertising alcohol entices young people who are not legally old enough to drink. It follows that the same is true for party pills. Encouraging their use among underage people is simply not acceptable," Mrs Dean said.

Mrs Dean is hopeful a petition she is due to present to Parliament asking it to review the classification of party pills with and look into the health, psychological, social and community safety impacts of those substances will see new standards introduced in relation to advertising party pills.

"Tighter controls are clearly needed and have been proven to be effective in other areas such as tobacco advertising where a crack down on marketing tobacco products has been helpful in reducing smoking rates.

"Party pills are a relatively unknown substance but we should be able to learn from what has worked in other areas," she said.


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