Complaint: 17/052

Hell Pizza, Radio

Details

Complainants
advertisers
Hell Pizza
Year
2017
Media
Radio
Television
Product
Food and Beverage
Clauses
Decision
Upheld / Settled
ASA Links
Website Listing
Decision Document

Document





COMPLAINT NUMBER
17/052
COMPLAINANT
L Kitto
ADVERTISER
Hell Pizza
ADVERTISEMENT
Hell Pizza, Radio
DATE OF MEETING
28 February 2017
OUTCOME
Upheld, in part

SUMMARY

The radio advertisement for Hell Pizza contains the line "If you buy one 1.5 litre Coke you'l
get sweet f. all, but if you buy two 1.5 litre Cokes you'll get two limited edition glasses for
free".

The Complainant said the use of the phrase "sweet f. all" during the day on a popular radio
station was "of a vile nature".

The Advertiser rejected the complaint and said "F all" is a widely-used expression and apart
from this one complaint no others have been received. The Advertiser said this
advertisement is no longer running.

The Media said they were comfortable to run this advertisement on three of their stations:
The Hits, Hauraki and ZM as these stations clearly target adult audiences.

A majority of the Complaints Board said the use of the phrase "sweet f all" was mildly
offensive but the level of offensiveness didn't reach the threshold required to cause serious
or widespread offence.

A majority of the Complaints Board agreed however that the advertisement had not been
prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and to society.

This was because the phrase is an implied reference to the word 'fuck", a strong expletive,
which is ranked number seven on the Broadcasting Standards Authority list of
"Unacceptable Words on Radio and Television".

The majority also said the phrase "sweet f all" is not suitable for children, and children do
listen to the radio stations where the advertisement was played, both during the day, and
during school holidays. The product being advertised, pizza, is also a product that appeals to
children.

A minority of the Complaints Board said the advertisement was acceptable because there is
a difference between an explicit and an implied profanity, and the phrase "sweet f all" would
be acceptable to most listeners.

In accordance with the majority, the Complaints Board ruled to Uphold the complaint, in
part.




17/052
[No further action required]

Please note this headnote does not form part of the Decision.



COMPLAINTS BOARD
DECISION

The Chair directed the Complaints Board to consider the advertisement with reference to
Basic Principle 4 and Rule 5 of the Code of Ethics. This required the Complaints Board to
consider whether the advertisement contained anything which was likely to cause serious or
widespread offence taking into account the context, medium, audience and product and if it
had been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and to society.

The Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Upheld, in part.

The Complaint
The Complainant said the use of the phrase "sweet f. all" during the day on a popular radio
station was "of a vile nature".

The Advertiser's Response
The Advertiser rejected the complaint and said "F all" is a widely-used expression and apart
from this one complaint no others have been received. The Advertiser said this
advertisement is no longer running.

Precedents
To assist in coming to its decision the Complaints Board reviewed three precedent
decisions: Complaint 11/225, which was "Upheld", Complaint 10/334 which was Not Upheld
and Complaint 09/318, which was Settled.

The first precedent decision concerned a radio advertisement for Moa Beer. In its decision,
the majority of the Complaints Board agreed the word 'fuck" was clearly the expletive used in
the advertisement, despite the beep that was supposed to mask it. The majority said that in
a survey conducted by the Broadcasting Standards Authority the word "fuck" ranked quite
highly. The majority said although the radio station, RadioLive, had a predominantly adult
demographic, the timing of the advertisement (midday on a Saturday) meant children would
be among the listeners.

The second precedent decision concerned a radio advertisement for the Far North Fuel
(FNF) card. In its decision, the majority of the Complaints Board agreed that use of the term
"effin" as a play on the name of the fuel card, although somewhat lacking in taste, was
unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence. The Complainant's appealed the
Complaints Board decision. The Appeal Board dismissed the appeal in a majority decision.
The majority said that the term "effin " was a play on words that referred to the company
name and the fact that the actual expletive was not used meant the Code of Ethics was not
breached. A minority disagreed on the basis that the term "effin" was a recognised form of a
strong expletive and the radio station where the advertisement played has a broad listener
base that could include children.

The third precedent decision concerned a billboard advertisement for Air New Zealand
which listed arrival and departure points within New Zealand and ended with the phrase "for
sweet FA". In her decision, the Chairman noted that the Advertiser had apologised for any
offence caused to the three Complaints and removed the advertisement, in a self-regulatory
manner. Accordingly, she said the matter had been settled and that it would serve no
further purpose to place it before the Complaints Board.

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17/052
The Media's Response
The Media said they were comfortable to run this advertisement on three of their stations:
The Hits, Hauraki and ZM, as these stations clearly target adult audiences.

The Media said that while the word "fuck" would clearly be unacceptable on mainstream
radio they believe euphemisms such as "eff", "effing", "flipping" and "fecking" are unlikely to
cause serious or widespread offence.

The Complaints Board Discussion
Having considered all the information provided, the Complaints Board turned to consider
whether the advertisement had breached Basic Principle 4 or Rule 2 of the Code of Ethics.

Does the use of the phrase "sweet f all" cause serious or widespread offence?
A majority of the Complaints Board said the use of the phrase "sweet f all" was offensive but
the level of offensiveness didn't reach the threshold required to cause serious or widespread
offence. The majority said the use of the abbreviation "f" in the phrase "sweet f all" was not
as offensive as the full word.

A minority of the Complaints Board said a young audience listens to ZM radio and it is not
appropriate to normalise the use of language like "f" and "effing". The product being
advertised, pizza, is also a product that appeals to children.

In accordance with the majority, the Complaints Board ruled the advertisement was not in
breach of Rule 5 of the Code of Ethics and was not likely to cause serious or widespread
offence.

Has the advertisement containing the phrase "sweet f all" been prepared with a due
sense of social responsibility to consumers and to society?
The Complaints Board then turned to consider whether the advertisement containing the
phrase "sweet f all" had been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to
consumers and to society?

A majority of the Complaints Board agreed the advertisement had not been prepared with a
due sense of social responsibility to consumers and to society. This was because the phrase
"sweet f all" is an implied reference to the word 'fuck", a strong expletive, which is ranked
number seven on the Broadcasting Standards Authority list of "Unacceptable Words on
Radio and Television".

The majority also said the phrase "sweet f all" is not suitable for children, and children do
listen to the radio stations where the advertisement was played, both during the day, and
during school holidays. The product being advertised, pizza, is also a product that appeals to
children.

The majority noted the Advertiser's comment that the phrase "f all" is used in everyday
mainstream media. The majority said the examples provided were editorial, not advertising,
and there are different rules for advertising.

A minority of the Complaints Board said the advertisement containing the phrase "sweet f all"
had been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and to society.

The minority said the advertisement was acceptable because there is a difference between
an explicit and an implied profanity, and the phrase "sweet f all" would be acceptable to most
listeners.

In accordance with the majority, the Complaints Board ruled to Uphold part of the complaint.
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17/052

Decision: Complaint Upheld, in part.



DESCRIPTION OF ADVERTISEMENT

The radio advertisement for Hell Pizza contains the line "If you buy one 1.5 litre Coke you'l
get sweet f. all, but if you buy two 1.5 litre Cokes you'll get two limited edition glasses for
free".

COMPLAINT FROM L KITTO

I believe the advert is of a Ville nature Advert says Buy one and get sweet F all People
know what is ment Bad advertising during the day on a popular radio station.

CODE OF ETHICS

Basic Principle 4: All advertisements should be prepared with a due sense of social
responsibility to consumers and to society.

Rule 5: Offensiveness: Advertisements should not contain anything which in the
light of generally prevailing community standards is likely to cause serious or
widespread offence taking into account the context, medium, audience and product
(including services).


RESPONSE FROM ADVERTISER: HELL PIZZA

F all is a widely used expression, we are unsure why your complaint contained the decision
from Moa Beer (11/225) as this is not the same - they clearly said the word 'fuck' and it was
poorly beeped out so easily distinguishable.

There are many example of 'F all' being used in everyday mainstream media, one recent
example was on National radio on Friday the 17th just before the 4pm, news (with no doubt
MANY kids being forced to listen)

http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=201833659 at about 9:44

A few more recent examples:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/racing/86252462/come-one-come-all-to-the-new-zealand-cup

https://publicaddress.net/hardnews/megabox-from-fk-all-to-zero/

Air NZ billboard (picture supplied).

Our ad was emailed to about 170k customers as well as many other impressions via web
and radio ads - aside from L KITTO from Mosgiel we did not receive any complaints or
negative feedback . This in itself shows acceptance by the masses.

This campaign and the ads are no longer running but we reject this compliant and are
making a stand for all advertisers, journalists and Radio NZ panelists to be able to continue
to use the phrase F all.

RESPONSE FROM MEDIA: NZME
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17/052
We note that NZME received the advertising material from the client and we have
broadcast the supplied advertising material in good faith as per normal practice.
The relevant sections in the Code of Ethics are:

Basic Principle 4 - All advertisements should be prepared with a due sense of social
responsibility to consumers and to society.
Rule 5 - Decency -- Advertisements should not contain anything which clearly
offends against generally prevailing community standards taking into account the
context, medium, audience and product (including services).

We note that Rule 6 may also be relevant:

Rule 6 - Offensiveness -- Advertisements should not contain anything which in the
light of generally prevailing community standards is likely to cause serious or
widespread offence taking into account the context, medium, audience and product
(including services).

While the advertisement was written and prepared by an agency outside NZME, we were
comfortable to run it on three of our stations: The Hits, Hauraki, and ZM.

We note that the complainant attached and referred to a previously upheld decision from
the ASA which related to the poor "bleeping out" of the f-word in an advertisement, as a
precedent (Decision 11/225).

While use of the word "fuck" would clearly be unacceptable on mainstream radio, we
believe that euphemisms such as "eff," "effing," "flipping," "fecking" (and other colloquial
derivatives) that are commonly used in the context of everyday speech (both on-air and in
the community) are very unlikely to cause widespread or serious offence. Most adults,
while understanding the allusion, will not find it overly coarse.

We have also attached a previous decision from the ASA (Decision 10/334) in which the
term "effin" was not deemed to breach the codes. We consider that this is a more relevant
precedent than Decision 11/225, referred to by the complainant. In Decision 10/334,
particular importance was given to the characteristics of the radio stations that the
advertisement was on, such as the context and audience. In this case:

? The Hits' audience is female and male adults, 25-54.
? ZM's audience is primarily female and male young professionals, 18-39.
? Hauraki's audience is primarily male, blue and white collar, 25-49.

All of these stations clearly target adult audiences. As part of all of these stations' regular
content, hosts commonly make adult references and innuendo, and may use colloquial
language.

None of these stations directly target a young audience, although we acknowledge that
The Hits and ZM may have a peripheral audience of children exposed through their
parents' listening. However, we do not feel that it would be inappropriate for children
incidentally exposed to this ad to hear the term 'sweet f-all.' Should the term even be
noticed by a young person, we consider that an adult listener could easily deflect this it
with a simple answer -- that it means 'nothing' or 'nothing much' without needing to reveal
the implied innuendo.

We believe that the advertisement was appropriate within the context, medium, and
audience, and that it did not breach the Advertising Codes.
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