New Zealand Aids Foundation Television Advertisement
5 November 2009
Complainants: J. Kelly, J. Comer and D. Carter
Advertisement: New Zealand Aids Foundation
Complaint: The television advertisement contained images of condom covered forefingers dancing in unison to a bouncy soundtrack with lyrics which said: "You want me to be wanting you, to be wanting me. I want to leave but I want to take your love with me..." A bare finger is shown and rejected by the others until it reappears wearing a condom.
The advertisement includes an image showing a map of New Zealand inside a condom, and ends with the web address http://www.getiton.com.nz. The Advertiser is identified as New Zealand Aids Foundation.
Complainants, J. Kelly, J. Comer and D. Carter, who saw the advertisement in the time zone from 8.20pm to "some time after 9pm" on TV2, were of the view that it was offensive, unacceptable and breaching decency.
The relevant provisions were Basic Principle 4 and Rules 5 and 11 of the Code of Ethics.
The Chairman noted the concerns about the content of the advertisement as raised by the Complainants.
She then referred to Rule 11 of the Code of Ethics, which said:
"Advocacy Advertising - Expression of opinion in advocacy advertising is an essential and desirable part of the functioning of a democratic society. Therefore such opinions may be robust. However, opinion should be clearly distinguishable from factual information. The identity of an advertiser in matters of public interest or political issue should be clear."
In her view, the important health message conveyed in the advertisement was a matter of public interest, and robust expression of such was acceptable under Rule 11. She noted that the Advertiser was clearly identified.
The Chairman said that although offensive to the adults concerned, she was of the view that the advertisement before her did not reached the threshold to be likely to cause serious or widespread offence in the light of generally prevailing community standards, and according there was no apparent breach of Rule 5.
Having made these observations, the Chairman was of the view that the advertisement had been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and to society and there was no apparent breach of the Advertising Codes.
Accordingly, the Chairman ruled that there were no grounds to proceed.
Chairman's Ruling: Complaint No Grounds to Proceed