New Decisions: Alcohol Ads, 5G Technology & more

The following decisions have been published:

Alcohol Ads Promoted Irresponsible Drinking

A complaint was made about four posts on the National Brands Nitro Facebook page. The advertisements used bright cartoon characters to promote alcoholic drinks Nitro Redline and Nitro Twisted Apple.

The Complainant was concerned the advertisements use design, motifs and cartoon characters that have strong or evident appeal to minors and the age-restricted media is unlikely to totally prevent youth exposure. The Complainant was also concerned the advertisements’ use of terms such as “Smash one back” encourages irresponsible or immoderate drinking.

The Advertiser defended the advertisements saying its Facebook page is age-gated meaning those under the age of 18 do not have access to the advertising.  The Advertiser said consumers are entitled to drink 6.9 standard drinks over the period of a weekend which is 48 hours.

The Complaints Board said the imagery used in the four advertisements had evident appeal to minors with the use of bright coloured engaging cartoon characters. The Board agreed the advertisements’ language was also aimed at a younger audience. However, because the advertisements had been age-gated in order to prevent Facebook users under the age of 18 from viewing the post, children or young people should not have seen the advertisements.

However, the Complaints Board upheld the complaint in part, as it said the language in the advertisements suggested consuming the drinks in a manner which promoted irresponsible or immoderate drinking.

5G Ad with a Focus on Technology Potential

The television advertisement for Vodafone’s 5G service showed a dog in New Zealand being operated on by a veterinary surgeon based in Japan. At the end of the advertisement there is large text which says: “Life to the power of 5G. Launches December 2019.” There is also small text which says “5G launches in parts of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.”

The Complainant was concerned the advertisement is misleading because there is no 5G system in New Zealand that could link continents to provide the level of connectivity portrayed in the advertisement. The 5G technology shown in the advertisement is a local high-speed network and relies on existing cable-based connectivity based outside New Zealand.

The Advertiser defended the advertisement and said the advertisement is intended to illustrate the benefits of 5G technology. The Advertiser said 5G technology enables this type of remote surgery because it provides a far lower “latency” (the delay in transmission of data) than previous mobile technology. The Advertiser said it does not make any statements about the technical infrastructure by which 5G operates, or how it facilitates communications.

The Complaints Board agreed the consumer takeout of the advertisement was 5G technology is super-fast and will enable innovations, such as remote surgery to take place. The Board noted that advertisement was from a telecommunications company who are rolling out 5G, rather than a veterinarian, so the focus of the advertisement was on the capability of the technology. A majority of the Complaints Board said the advertisement demonstrated the potential of what can be achieved using 5G technology. In accordance with the majority the Complaints Board said the advertisement was not misleading and did not uphold the complaint.

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