28th October 2020
The ASA frequently receives questions and complaints regarding the advertising of fireworks in New Zealand. The following article outlines some of the key elements to consider when advertising fireworks through the Guy Fawkes period.
Fireworks are controlled by the Hazardous Substances (Fireworks) Regulations 2001 and there are strict rules around buying and selling fireworks. Although fireworks can be used throughout the year, they are only allowed to be sold during a four-day period – from November 2nd to November 5th.
Advertisers can promote fireworks outside of the retail sales period, provided it is clear in the advertisement that fireworks are only available for sale on the above dates to ensure the advertisement is not misleading. As fireworks are a restricted product and cannot be sold to children and young people, advertisers should take care to target adults in their advertisements. The Advertising Standards Code applies to fireworks advertising and in particular advertisers should be aware of the rules for truthful presentation (Rule 2(b)) and safety (Rule 1(e)).
When creating fireworks advertising, advertisers should be mindful of the rules regarding their use to ensure these are reflected in both the images and words of the ad. Some specific things to consider include:
- Many local councils have laws that stop people from lighting fireworks in public places such as parks or beaches.
- The use of fireworks should show respect to your neighbours, especially those with young children or pets.
- Fireworks are a restricted product and purchasers must be 18 years old and have valid ID to buy fireworks.
- There also rules about what types of fireworks are sold, so ensure the fireworks imagery used in your ads are legal in New Zealand
- Many pets, especially dogs, can be very scared by the lights and sounds of fireworks. The SPCA has guidelines about Guy Fawkes and pets.
- The fire service has helpful advice on using fireworks safely.