Source: Advertising Standards Authority

The following decisions have been published:

  • Complaint 18/299 Appeal 18/021 Seafood New Zealand Television: Appeal Allowed, Complaint Upheld
  • Complaint 18/331 Qigong Self healing and Life Cultivation Centre, Digital Marketing: Upheld
  • Complaint 18/428 Alt NZ, Television: Upheld – Advertisements removed
  • Complaint 19/031 NZ Sale, Digital Marketing: Upheld
  • Complaint 19/024 VTNZ, Television, No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/032 Eden Orchards, Unaddressed Mail: Settled – Advertisement removed
  • Complaint 19/033 Great Lake Motors, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/034 NZ Racing Board, TAB, Television: Not Upheld
  • Complaint 19/035 Greenpeace, Billboard: Upheld
  • Complaint 19/040 Mobil NZ, Addressed Mail: Not Upheld
  • Complaint 19/042 Health Promotion Agency, Digital Marketing: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/044 Lord of the Fries, Instore: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/049 Momentum Life, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/051 Hud App, Digital Marketing: Settled – Advertisement removed
  • Complaint 19/052 Moet Hennessy, Digital Marketing: Settled – Advertisement removed
  • Complaint 19/053 Do Terra, Unaddressed Mail: Settled – Advertisement removed
  • Complaint 19/056 Family First, Billboard: Not Upheld
  • Complaint 19/057 Spark NZ and Outline, Digital Marketing: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/059 Dairy NZ, Radio: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/060 The Salvation Army, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/061 NZ Transport Agency, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/063 Vodafone NZ, Digital Marketing: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/064 Family First, Billboard: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/069 Speak for Women, Poster: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/070 Speak for Women, Poster:  No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/072 Homecare Medical, Quitline, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/078 Intergrace, Digital Marketing: Settled – Advertisement Amended
  • Complaint 19/079 Kindred Chiropractic, Addressed Mail: Settled – Advertisement removed
  • Complaint 19/080 Subway NZ Ltd, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/081 Skycity, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/082 McDonalds and Uber Eats, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/083 ASB, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/087 Bank of New Zealand, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/091 Unilever Australasia, Lynx, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/092 Health Promotion Agency, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/093 Lion, Corona, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/098 Mr Rental, Radio: No Grounds to Proceed

Therapeutic Claims Must Be Substantiated

There were four “Get Free” television advertisements for Alt New Zealand, each with a theme: “Get Fit”, “Get Old”, “Get Young” and “Get Rich”. Each of the ads had visual imagery illustrating the theme, as well as text. The text on each of the ads said: “Get Free, Get Fit. Stop smoking and your lung capacity can increase by up to 30%.”; “Stop smoking and you could save $7000 Dollars a Year”; “Stop smoking and you could add 10 years to your life expectancy.”; “Stop smoking before you’re 25 and your lungs can regenerate.”

There were three complaints about these advertisements. The Complainants said advertisements for vaping should come under the same rules as advertisements for tobacco, and it is not proven that vaping is safe or healthy.

The Advertiser said it is legal to advertise electronic cigarettes in New Zealand. The advertisements promote the alt. as an alternative to smoking, but do not make any specific claims or statements regarding the financial or health benefits of using the alt. as opposed to smoking.

A majority of the Complaints Board said the advertisements were making therapeutic claims and the phrase “Get Free”, along with the accompanying imagery, refers to giving up smoking (which for some people is an addiction) with the help of Alt.  This implies Alt is a smoking cessation product that has a therapeutic benefit of alleviating smoking addiction.  The majority of the Complaints Board said these claims had not been substantiated.

Therefore, the Complaints Board ruled the complaints were Upheld.

Advocacy Ad Misleading

The billboard advertisement for Greenpeace said “Ravensdown and Balance Pollute Rivers”. Below this, to the left of the billboard and in smaller letters, was “#TooManyCows”. To the right of the billboard was the Greenpeace logo.

There were three complaints about this billboard stating it made a false claim. One Complainant said it is the farmers who are polluting the rivers, not the fertiliser producers. Another Complainant said there wasn’t evidence to back up this claim, and ‘#toomanycows’ is an opinion not a fact.

The Advertiser said the environmental impacts of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser are both direct and indirect. The direct impact occurs from the application of the fertiliser itself, the indirect impact occurs from the intensification of farming that is enabled by the application of synthetic nitrogen. The Advertiser said Ravensdown and Balance sell 98% of all fertilisers used in New Zealand.

A majority of the Complaints Board said the advertisement was misleading because the message was over-simplified and potentially unclear. A minority of the Complaints Board said in the context of advocacy advertising Greenpeace had provided sufficient substantiation to support its view. In accordance with the majority, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Upheld.

MIL OSI

New Decisions: Vaping, Pollution and More

Source: Advertising Standards Authority

The following decisions have been published:

  • Complaint 18/299 Appeal 18/021 Seafood New Zealand Television: Appeal Allowed, Complaint Upheld
  • Complaint 18/331 Qigong Self healing and Life Cultivation Centre, Digital Marketing: Upheld
  • Complaint 18/428 Alt NZ, Television: Upheld – Advertisements removed
  • Complaint 19/031 NZ Sale, Digital Marketing: Upheld
  • Complaint 19/024 VTNZ, Television, No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/032 Eden Orchards, Unaddressed Mail: Settled – Advertisement removed
  • Complaint 19/033 Great Lake Motors, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/034 NZ Racing Board, TAB, Television: Not Upheld
  • Complaint 19/035 Greenpeace, Billboard: Upheld
  • Complaint 19/040 Mobil NZ, Addressed Mail: Not Upheld
  • Complaint 19/042 Health Promotion Agency, Digital Marketing: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/044 Lord of the Fries, Instore: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/049 Momentum Life, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/051 Hud App, Digital Marketing: Settled – Advertisement removed
  • Complaint 19/052 Moet Hennessy, Digital Marketing: Settled – Advertisement removed
  • Complaint 19/053 Do Terra, Unaddressed Mail: Settled – Advertisement removed
  • Complaint 19/056 Family First, Billboard: Not Upheld
  • Complaint 19/057 Spark NZ and Outline, Digital Marketing: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/059 Dairy NZ, Radio: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/060 The Salvation Army, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/061 NZ Transport Agency, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/063 Vodafone NZ, Digital Marketing: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/064 Family First, Billboard: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/069 Speak for Women, Poster: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/070 Speak for Women, Poster:  No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/072 Homecare Medical, Quitline, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/078 Intergrace, Digital Marketing: Settled – Advertisement Amended
  • Complaint 19/079 Kindred Chiropractic, Addressed Mail: Settled – Advertisement removed
  • Complaint 19/080 Subway NZ Ltd, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/081 Skycity, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/082 McDonalds and Uber Eats, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/083 ASB, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/087 Bank of New Zealand, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/091 Unilever Australasia, Lynx, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/092 Health Promotion Agency, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/093 Lion, Corona, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/098 Mr Rental, Radio: No Grounds to Proceed

Therapeutic Claims Must Be Substantiated

There were four “Get Free” television advertisements for Alt New Zealand, each with a theme: “Get Fit”, “Get Old”, “Get Young” and “Get Rich”. Each of the ads had visual imagery illustrating the theme, as well as text. The text on each of the ads said: “Get Free, Get Fit. Stop smoking and your lung capacity can increase by up to 30%.”; “Stop smoking and you could save $7000 Dollars a Year”; “Stop smoking and you could add 10 years to your life expectancy.”; “Stop smoking before you’re 25 and your lungs can regenerate.”

There were three complaints about these advertisements. The Complainants said advertisements for vaping should come under the same rules as advertisements for tobacco, and it is not proven that vaping is safe or healthy.

The Advertiser said it is legal to advertise electronic cigarettes in New Zealand. The advertisements promote the alt. as an alternative to smoking, but do not make any specific claims or statements regarding the financial or health benefits of using the alt. as opposed to smoking.

A majority of the Complaints Board said the advertisements were making therapeutic claims and the phrase “Get Free”, along with the accompanying imagery, refers to giving up smoking (which for some people is an addiction) with the help of Alt.  This implies Alt is a smoking cessation product that has a therapeutic benefit of alleviating smoking addiction.  The majority of the Complaints Board said these claims had not been substantiated.

Therefore, the Complaints Board ruled the complaints were Upheld.

Advocacy Ad Misleading

The billboard advertisement for Greenpeace said “Ravensdown and Balance Pollute Rivers”. Below this, to the left of the billboard and in smaller letters, was “#TooManyCows”. To the right of the billboard was the Greenpeace logo.

There were three complaints about this billboard stating it made a false claim. One Complainant said it is the farmers who are polluting the rivers, not the fertiliser producers. Another Complainant said there wasn’t evidence to back up this claim, and ‘#toomanycows’ is an opinion not a fact.

The Advertiser said the environmental impacts of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser are both direct and indirect. The direct impact occurs from the application of the fertiliser itself, the indirect impact occurs from the intensification of farming that is enabled by the application of synthetic nitrogen. The Advertiser said Ravensdown and Balance sell 98% of all fertilisers used in New Zealand.

A majority of the Complaints Board said the advertisement was misleading because the message was over-simplified and potentially unclear. A minority of the Complaints Board said in the context of advocacy advertising Greenpeace had provided sufficient substantiation to support its view. In accordance with the majority, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Upheld.

MIL OSI

Source: Advertising Standards Authority

The following decisions have been published:

  • Complaint 18/299 Appeal 18/021 Seafood New Zealand Television: Appeal Allowed, Complaint Upheld
  • Complaint 18/331 Qigong Self healing and Life Cultivation Centre, Digital Marketing: Upheld
  • Complaint 18/428 Alt NZ, Television: Upheld – Advertisements removed
  • Complaint 19/031 NZ Sale, Digital Marketing: Upheld
  • Complaint 19/024 VTNZ, Television, No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/032 Eden Orchards, Unaddressed Mail: Settled – Advertisement removed
  • Complaint 19/033 Great Lake Motors, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/034 NZ Racing Board, TAB, Television: Not Upheld
  • Complaint 19/035 Greenpeace, Billboard: Upheld
  • Complaint 19/040 Mobil NZ, Addressed Mail: Not Upheld
  • Complaint 19/042 Health Promotion Agency, Digital Marketing: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/044 Lord of the Fries, Instore: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/049 Momentum Life, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/051 Hud App, Digital Marketing: Settled – Advertisement removed
  • Complaint 19/052 Moet Hennessy, Digital Marketing: Settled – Advertisement removed
  • Complaint 19/053 Do Terra, Unaddressed Mail: Settled – Advertisement removed
  • Complaint 19/056 Family First, Billboard: Not Upheld
  • Complaint 19/057 Spark NZ and Outline, Digital Marketing: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/059 Dairy NZ, Radio: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/060 The Salvation Army, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/061 NZ Transport Agency, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/063 Vodafone NZ, Digital Marketing: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/064 Family First, Billboard: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/069 Speak for Women, Poster: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/070 Speak for Women, Poster:  No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/072 Homecare Medical, Quitline, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/078 Intergrace, Digital Marketing: Settled – Advertisement Amended
  • Complaint 19/079 Kindred Chiropractic, Addressed Mail: Settled – Advertisement removed
  • Complaint 19/080 Subway NZ Ltd, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/081 Skycity, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/082 McDonalds and Uber Eats, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/083 ASB, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/087 Bank of New Zealand, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/091 Unilever Australasia, Lynx, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/092 Health Promotion Agency, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/093 Lion, Corona, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 19/098 Mr Rental, Radio: No Grounds to Proceed

Therapeutic Claims Must Be Substantiated

There were four “Get Free” television advertisements for Alt New Zealand, each with a theme: “Get Fit”, “Get Old”, “Get Young” and “Get Rich”. Each of the ads had visual imagery illustrating the theme, as well as text. The text on each of the ads said: “Get Free, Get Fit. Stop smoking and your lung capacity can increase by up to 30%.”; “Stop smoking and you could save $7000 Dollars a Year”; “Stop smoking and you could add 10 years to your life expectancy.”; “Stop smoking before you’re 25 and your lungs can regenerate.”

There were three complaints about these advertisements. The Complainants said advertisements for vaping should come under the same rules as advertisements for tobacco, and it is not proven that vaping is safe or healthy.

The Advertiser said it is legal to advertise electronic cigarettes in New Zealand. The advertisements promote the alt. as an alternative to smoking, but do not make any specific claims or statements regarding the financial or health benefits of using the alt. as opposed to smoking.

A majority of the Complaints Board said the advertisements were making therapeutic claims and the phrase “Get Free”, along with the accompanying imagery, refers to giving up smoking (which for some people is an addiction) with the help of Alt.  This implies Alt is a smoking cessation product that has a therapeutic benefit of alleviating smoking addiction.  The majority of the Complaints Board said these claims had not been substantiated.

Therefore, the Complaints Board ruled the complaints were Upheld.

Advocacy Ad Misleading

The billboard advertisement for Greenpeace said “Ravensdown and Balance Pollute Rivers”. Below this, to the left of the billboard and in smaller letters, was “#TooManyCows”. To the right of the billboard was the Greenpeace logo.

There were three complaints about this billboard stating it made a false claim. One Complainant said it is the farmers who are polluting the rivers, not the fertiliser producers. Another Complainant said there wasn’t evidence to back up this claim, and ‘#toomanycows’ is an opinion not a fact.

The Advertiser said the environmental impacts of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser are both direct and indirect. The direct impact occurs from the application of the fertiliser itself, the indirect impact occurs from the intensification of farming that is enabled by the application of synthetic nitrogen. The Advertiser said Ravensdown and Balance sell 98% of all fertilisers used in New Zealand.

A majority of the Complaints Board said the advertisement was misleading because the message was over-simplified and potentially unclear. A minority of the Complaints Board said in the context of advocacy advertising Greenpeace had provided sufficient substantiation to support its view. In accordance with the majority, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Upheld.

MIL OSI

New Decisions: Medicinal Cannabis, Alcohol Advertising and More

Source: Advertising Standards Authority

The following decisions have been published:

Alcohol Advertising Must Not Appeal To Minors

Prior to Christmas, Glengarry Wines sent both addressed and unaddressed newsletters containing wine promotions.  The front cover had a stylised cartoon drawing of Santa Claus, a dog and a Christmas tree with a wine bottle and glasses.  The back page featured a selection of pink bottles of alcohol featured alongside pink iced donuts and bright coloured biscuits.

The Complainant was concerned the unaddressed advertisement had direct appeal to children and alcohol should not be marketed in that way.

The Advertiser said the unaddressed advertisement had been sent to selected neighbourhoods that matched the target demographic for fine wines.  It said the advertisement was prepared and intended for an adult audience.  The stylised graphic of Santa was done in a humorous, mature way as a festive cover, not to attract minors.

The Complaints Board did not consider minors would be interested in the inside pages of the newsletter.  However, the front and back covers were likely to be visually attractive to minors given the context of Christmas and the bright cartoon representation of Santa. The Complaints Board ruled the combination of the appeal of the cover of the advertisement and the unrestricted access to a wide audience via unaddressed mail delivery was a breach of the Code for Advertising and Promotion of Alcohol. Therefore, the complaint was Upheld.

Medicinal Cannabis Advertisement Misleading to Consumers

Helius Therapeutics displayed three versions of a billboard advertisement promoting medicinal cannabis. Each version had a different head-and-shoulders photo of a person on the left-hand side of the billboard and identical text positioned to the right of the photo. The main text said: “Cannabis is medicine”. Below this was the text: “It’s time to tell the truth about medicinal cannabis”. The Helius Therapeutics logo and reference to their Facebook page was also displayed.

The complainants were concerned that cannabis was not allowed to be advertised, an illegal drug was being promoted, the advertisement implied all cannabis is medicine, and the billboard was a breach of Treaty rights.

The Advertiser said the purpose of the campaign was to address the stigma associated with cannabis, draw attention to the use of cannabis as medicine and honour those patients and advocates who have had the courage to stand up for reform.  The Advertiser removed the billboard soon after complaints were received, and it has no plans to run the advertisement again.

The Complaints Board noted that cannabis is an illegal drug in New Zealand, and it is not socially responsible to imply that all cannabis is “medicine”. The Complaints Board was unanimous in its view the advertisement was likely to mislead, confuse or harm consumers. However, considering the fact the advertisment had been removed, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Settled.

MIL OSI

New Decisions: Offensive Ads, Explicit Quotes and More

Source: Advertising Standards Authority

The following decisions have been published:

Offensive Ad Removed

The Restaurant Brands television advertisement for KFC showed a man changing clothes on the side of the road.  The woman holding the towel up for his privacy deliberately dropped the towel as a passing car approached.

The Complainants were concerned the advertisement showed a person being sexually harassed and humiliated which is offensive.

The Advertiser apologised and said the advertisement was intended to be a light-hearted situation between a group of friends.  They removed the ad from all channels.

Given the Advertiser’s co-operative engagement with the process and the self-regulatory action taken in removing the advertisement and agreeing not to use it again, the Chair said that it would serve no further purpose to place the matter before the Complaints Board.  The Chair ruled that the matter was settled.

Advertiser Apologised for Explicit Quote

The message board outside Henry’s Beer, Wine and Spirits premises in Woolston, Christchurch said “Day 5 without sex: I went for a run with jandals on just so I could remember the sound.”

The Complainant was concerned the message board used explicit sexual content, which they found offensive in a public place where children were exposed to the message.

The Advertiser said in part:  “Our customers really enjoy the humour but I understand that this particular quote was perhaps pushing the boundaries for some people.”

Given the Advertiser’s co-operative engagement with the process and the self-regulatory action taken in removing the content and taking more care with future quotes, the Chair said that it would serve no further purpose to place the matter before the Complaints Board.  The Chair ruled the complaint was settled.

MIL OSI

New Decisions: Vaccinations, Fluoride and More

Source: Advertising Standards Authority

The following decisions have been published:

  • Complaint 18/291 Appeal 18/018 Fluoride Free, Newspaper, Appeal Allowed: Not Upheld
  • Complaint 18/303 Appeal 18/016 Mackit Architecture, Digital Marketing, Appeal Allowed: Upheld
  • Complaint 18/307 Tasman District Council, Print, Not Upheld
  • Complaint 18/340 Appeal 18/017 WAVES, Out of Home, Appeal Dismissed: Complaint Upheld
  • Complaint 18/359 Canstaff, Out of Home, Not Upheld
  • Complaint 18/371 Stolen Spirits, Digital Marketing, Upheld
  • Complaint 18/381 Zen Hotels, Digital Marketing, Settled
  • Complaint 18/382 Lamont Wines, Packaging: Settled
  • Complaint 18/384 OneRoof, Print, Not Upheld
  • Complaint 18/388 New Zealand Racing Board, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 18/391 The Knitter, Print, Not Upheld
  • Complaint 18/392 Brand Developers, Television, Not Upheld
  • Complaint 18/395 Ebbett Volkswagen, Print: Settled
  • Complaint 18/396 Sleepdrops, Digital Marketing, Settled
  • Complaint 18/398 Briscoes, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 18/399 Just for Men NZ, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 18/400 Red Seal, Television, No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 18/401 Car Jam, Out of Home: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 18/404 Leeds St Bakery, Digital Marketing, Settled
  • Complaint 18/405 Hell Pizza, Digital Marketing, Not Upheld
  • Complaint 18/406 Foodstuffs NZ, Pak N Save, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 18/407 Britannia Financial Services, Digital Marketing, No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 18/408 Fonterra, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 18/410 Nitro, Digital Marketing, Settled
  • Complaint 18/411 NordVPN, Television, No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 18/412 NZTA, Television, No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 18/419 Burger Cartel, Out of Home, No Jurisdiction
  • Complaint 18/420 Mitre 10, Television, No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 18/421 Department of Conservation, Digital Marketing, No Jurisdiction
  • Complaint 18/422 Pacific Brands, Digital Marketing, No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 18/423 Ponsonby Central, Out of Home, No Jurisdiction
  • Complaint 18/425 Noel Leeming, Television, No Grounds to Proceed
  • Complaint 18/426 Keith Nelson and Associates, Addressed Mail, Settled
  • Complaint 18/429 Bayleys Real Estate, Television, No Grounds to Proceed

Advocacy Ad Ruled OK on Appeal
The newspaper advertisement for Fluoride Free New Zealand showed a photo of a child drinking a glass of water with the heading “Fluoride is a Neurotoxin that Reduces Children’s IQ”. Below this photo was the heading “International Experts share latest research linking fluoride to neurological damage and other harms.” The Complainants raised concerns the advertisement was misleading because it exaggerated the neurological effects of fluoride on children and used fear to spread a counter-scientific message that fluoride is dangerous to children.

The Complaints Board ruled on 9 October 2018 the complaint was Upheld, in part. It said the advocacy advertisement was not likely to mislead as the Advertiser provided a sufficient level of substantiation for the claims made. However, the Complaints Board said the advertisement unjustifiably played on fear and was therefore socially irresponsible.

The Advertiser appealed the Decision. In their Appeal the Advertiser claimed, in part, that it was contradictory for the Complaints Board to accept the scientific research indicating the advertisement was not misleading, to then say that the advertisement unjustifiably plays on fear. They also said the advertisement’s structure was essentially identical to a Ministry of Health web page that forms part of the Ministry’s antismoking advocacy campaign, which no one would consider fearmongering.

The Appeal Board agreed with the Complaints Board the advertisement did not meet the threshold to mislead consumers as the Advertiser provided some substantiation for the claims made, and, in the context of an advocacy advertisement, this was deemed sufficient.

The Appeal Board disagreed with the Complaints Board’s ruling on Rule 6 of the Code of Ethics and said the advertisement did not quite meet the threshold to unjustifiably play on fear, although it came very close.  In making its decision, the Appeal Board gave greater emphasis to the context of the advertisement, a newspaper invitation to a public lecture explaining recent research on the risks of fluoride. The Appeal Board said in this instance the Advertiser holds the view that “Fluoride is a Neurotoxin that reduces Children’s IQ” and, in the context of advocacy, the advertised talk was their opportunity to elaborate on this view.

Therefore, the Complaints were Not Upheld and the Appeal was Allowed.

Advocacy Ads Must Clearly Identify the Advertiser
The billboard advertisement for WAVES NZ showed a photo of a man holding a baby. The man had a prominent tattoo on his right arm. Next to the photo were the words: “If you knew the ingredients in a vaccine, would you RISK it?” (The word “Risk” was in red and in capital letters). At the bottom right of the advertisement was the organisation’s website.

The ASA received 146 complaints about the advertisement. The Complainants were generally concerned the advertisement was not socially responsible because it implied that vaccines are not safe, and convincing people not to vaccinate may not only prove harmful to them and their children, but also to wider society. The Complainants also said the advertisement exploited fear in people who do not understand the underlying science behind vaccinations.

The Advertiser said the intention behind the advertisement was to promote informed consent and to encourage parents to research the ingredients of vaccines.

The majority of the Complaints Board said the identity of the Advertiser was not sufficiently clear and ruled the identification requirement of Advocacy Advertising, had not been met. The Complaints Board said the advertisement was misleading as the likely consumer takeout that vaccination is not safe was not sufficiently substantiated by the Advertiser, the advertisement unjustifiably played on fear and was socially irresponsible. Therefore, the Complaints Board ruled on 9 October 2018 the complaint was upheld.

The Advertiser appealed the Decision. The Appeal Board agreed with the Complaints Board that the identity of the Advertiser was not clear enough and agreed the message received by the consumer was limited and therefore misleading. It said that while consumers have a right to be informed, the billboard advertisement engendered fear through the use of text and imagery. The Appeal Board ruled the Complaints were Upheld and the Appeal was Dismissed.

MIL OSI