New Decisions: Ministry of Health ad did not mislead consumers, “no contract” claims, and more

The following decisions have been released to the ASA website:

Ministry of Health measles vaccination campaign did not mislead consumers

 The Ministry of Health television advertisement shows a family watching coverage of the recent measles outbreak. The advertisement encourages people aged 15 to 30 to get immunised as they can be at greater risk of measles, having missed out on getting vaccinated. The advertisement states that measles is “about 8 times more contagious than COVID-19.” The advertisement ends with the text “Be a Guardian of the Future. Get a free measles immunisation.” The advertisement included the website address “” and contained the Ministry of Health and Health Promotion Agency logos.

The Complainant was concerned it was misleading to compare how contagious measles is in relation to COVID-19 as new strains are changing infection rates, making any comparison factually incorrect. The Complainant was also concerned that mixing messages about the two diseases created confusion for some consumers about which vaccine they should be getting.

In their response, the Advertiser said that given the emergence of new COVID-19 strains, the advertisement had been amended and now says “protect yourself against a disease that’s even more contagious than COVID-19.” The Advertiser explained the health risk of measles will rise should the borders reopen and messages about immunisation against MMR, COVID and influenza were all important.

The majority of the Complaints Board said the reference to measles being 8 times more contagious than COVID-19 was unlikely to confuse or mislead consumers. While it acknowledged the Advertiser had amended the advertisement to eliminate any confusion, the majority of the Board said the original claim did not reach the threshold to breach the Advertising Standards Code.

 The Board agreed the Ministry of Health was the expert body and deferred to its centrally co-ordinated COVID-19, MMR and Influenza vaccination campaign roll outs. The Complaints Board noted the Ministry of Health’s position that all vaccination programmes were considered important, and it deferred to the Ministry of Health’s expert view on how best to convey the importance of the different vaccinations.

The Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld.


Electric Kiwi “no contracts” claim not misleading

 The Electric Kiwi television advertisement shows people at the beach singing about the benefits of Electric Kiwi. They sing about guaranteed savings, an hour of free power and say “We don’t have any contracts.”

The Complainant was concerned the advertisement was misleading to claim there are no contracts when there are terms and conditions which would form part of a contract between the customer and the energy company.

In their response, the Advertiser provided examples of how “no contracts” is a common term used as shorthand for “no fixed term contracts” when marketing to consumers in retail services such as electricity providers, mobile and broadband.

The Complaints Board considered the complaint and unanimously agreed the advertisement was not likely to mislead or confuse the average consumer. It said, in this context, the term ‘no contracts’ would be considered by most people to be a reference to a relationship between a business and a consumer which is not bound by a commitment to a certain period of time or a fixed term.

The Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld.