ASB splits decision on party pies ad
The advertising watchdog has upheld a complaint about an ad for Patties Party Pies, which ran during the movie Frozen, on the Seven Network last November, but the complainant slammed the Board’s decision not to rule that the ad was directed at children.
The Obesity Policy Coalition lodged a complaint about the ad after it was broadcast during the Disney movie on Seven last year, claiming it breached guidelines against marketing junk food during children’s programming.
In its complaint the OPC highlighted that Patties is a signatory on the Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative to not advertise food products to children under 12 unless the those foods represent healthier dietary choices.
Patties launched the campaign last year as part of its move to reposition the food from one bought primarily for celebrations to an everyday snack.
“This advertisement was broadcast on Channel 7 during the movie Frozen, which was broadcast on 28 November 2015 at 7:00pm,” said the complaint.
“It is well known that this has been the most popular movie among children in recent years. It is not a family movie, it is movie with themes, visuals and language directed primarily to children and would have been watched on Channel 7 by large numbers of children. It therefore follows that the advertisement’s content and placement was directed primarily to children.”
The ASB agreed that the placement of the ad in the show was inappropriate and censured the advertiser for running it during the movie.
The OPC also highlighted the content of the ad as being aimed at children.
“This is not an advertisement directed to main grocery buyers, the child’s voice and children’s themes appeal directly to children and will influence children to pester their parents to purchase the product for them,” it said.
However, the ASB rejected this element of the complaint, and Patties restated the ad was aimed at grocery buyers, not kids.
“In our view, the Advertisement does not feature any animation or visuals that appeal to a child’s imagination and sense of play and wonderment,” Patties submitted in its response.
“We submit that the visuals of the family setting and household activity appeal to a broad audience. The inclusion of the entire family enjoying a Patties Party Pie is directed to the grocery buyer and not children.”
The ASB agreed with the advertiser, saying that the act of having a child in the ad or an astronaut theme did not necessarily make the ad appealing to children.
“The Board noted the overall space theme of the advertisement and considered that advertisers are free to use whichever theme they wish in an advertisement and in the Board’s view the use of a space-related theme in the current advertisement is not directed primarily to children,” said the ASB, in its ruling.
“With regards to visuals the Board noted that the advertisement opens on a mother taking a tray of Patties Party Pies from a hot oven and then calling out to her family that they are ready. The Board noted that the family members included a mum, dad, grandmother and young son. The Board considered that the inclusion of a child in an advertisement does not of itself make the advertisement attractive to, or of principal appeal to, children.”
However, the OPC said the ASB failed to recognise the appeal to children in the ad.
“The OPC is disappointed that the ASB did not find this advert itself to be targeting children when it features a child’s voice, child-directed language (“The party pies they eat in outer space” and “Best Snack Ever”) and children’s themes (outer space, astronauts and thumping the table in anticipation of food) that would appeal primarily to children.”
Ironically, the OPC said the music in the ad would be “incredibly engaging to Star Wars fans” when the music was the theme from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.