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Authority partly upholds complaint about 'vile' ad

20 March 2017

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has partly upheld a complaint about a radio advert that contained the term “sweet f all”.

The ZM ad for Hell Pizza contained the line “If you buy one 1.5 litre Coke you’ll get sweet f all, but if you buy two 1.5 litre Cokes you’ll get two limited edition glasses for free”.

The complainant condemned the use of the phrase during the day on a popular radio station.

“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.”

Hell Pizza responded that “F all” is a widely-used expression and this was the only complaint about the use of language.  

The station’s owner said they were comfortable to run the advertisement on three of their stations: The Hits, Hauraki and ZM as these stations target adult audiences.

A majority of the ASA’s 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 board agreed however, that the advertisement had not been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility.

This was because the phrase is an implied reference to the four-letter word that 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.

Television trailers complaint not upheld

Meanwhile, the Broadcasting Standards Authority has not upheld a complaint about trailers for popular television programmes.

The promos for South ParkTosh.O and Bombshell: The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior screened during the wildlife programme Africa’s Fishing Leopards. The promos contained potentially offensive language, which was censored, and verbal references to an ‘act of terror’ and ‘murder’.

Wayne Hurrell complained that it was inappropriate to broadcast promos for Adults Only-classified (AO) programmes during G-classified programmes, as they contained adult themes.

The Authority noted that it is acceptable to screen promos for AO programmes during G programmes, provided that the promo complies with the classification of the host programme. It found that in this case, the use of censored coarse language did not breach standards, but noted that in order to maintain a G classification, broadcasters must take care to adequately edit any AO or PGR content. The promos did not contain any other material which was adult in nature or would have adversely affected child viewers.

Last updated on the 21st March 2017