23 January 2013
5DN breaches advertising standard and code with Coles promotion
Southern States Broadcasters Pty Ltd, the licensee of Adelaide’s 5DN, breached the commercial radio advertising standard and code by broadcasting a four minute long promotion for Coles Supermarkets featuring Status Quo performing a 2012 version of its 1975 classic hit Down Down.
The ACMA found that the promotion was presented as music programming and not clearly distinguishable as advertising, as required under the Broadcasting Services (Commercial Radio Advertising) Standard 2012 (the 2012 standard) and the Commercial Radio Australia Codes of Practice & Guidelines 2011 (the code). It aired on 11 July 2012.
This is the first breach of the 2012 standard, which came into effect 1 May last year.
‘Long-form musical advertisements like this are a relatively new innovation in radio advertising,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. ‘During the investigation, the ACMA remained conscious of the need to balance the regulatory requirements for advertising with industry's drive for innovation and competition in radio advertising.’
The ACMA considered whether the advertisement:
- Complied with section 7 of the 2012 standard, by being distinguishable at the time of broadcast from other program material.
- Complied with clause 3.1(a) of the codes, by not being presented as ‘other program’ material.
The ACMA concluded that the licensee breached both these provisions by broadcasting the advertisement in a 'classic hits' format without distinguishing it appropriately. The form, length and placement of the advertisement meant that it was presented as music programming which a reasonable listener was not able to distinguish as an advertisement.
The licensee advised that a pre-recorded announcement was cued to play before the advertisement but a technical fault meant it didn’t go to air. Although the ACMA notes the licensee's non-compliance was not intentional, neither the 2012 standard nor the codes provide exemption from the obligations in the case of technical difficulties.
The licensee confirms that since the technical fault in July 2012, all sites in the ARN network have been upgraded to the latest version of the relevant software, significantly reducing the instances of such issues with scheduled material.
The ACMA also investigated the broadcast of the same advertisement on the same day by stations 2UUS, 3KKZ and 4KQ (all within the Australian Radio Network). These commercial radio stations distinguished the advertisement from the surrounding ‘classic hits’ by broadcasting announcements that clearly connected the 2012 version of Down Down to Coles Supermarkets. Accordingly, the ACMA found these three broadcasts did not breach the 2012 standard or the codes.
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