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Hynes and TVWorks Ltd - 2011-155

Members

  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Mary Anne Shanahan

Complainant

  • Amanda Hynes of Auckland

Dated

28th February 2012

Number

2011-155

Programme

Paddle Pop Begins

Channel/Station

TV3

Broadcaster

TVWorks Ltd


Complaint under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
Paddle Pop Begins – children’s cartoon – main character’s name was the same as a brand of iceblock – allegedly in breach of responsible programming and children’s interests standards

Findings
Standard 8 (responsible programming) – accept that Streets logo and name of character amounted to branding or marketing – however programme was clearly a children’s cartoon rather than an “advertisement” for the purposes of guideline 8d – not upheld

Standard 9 (children’s interests) – programme would not have alarmed or disturbed child viewers – broadcaster adequately considered children’s interests – not upheld

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


Introduction

[1]  An episode of the children’s cartoon Paddle Pop Begins was broadcast on TV3 at 8.25am on 13 October 2011.

[2]  Amanda Hynes made a formal complaint to TVWorks Ltd, the broadcaster, alleging that the programme contained “obvious branding” and promoted Paddle Pop iceblocks which were high in sugar and fat, in breach of standards relating to responsible programming and children’s interests.

[3]  The issue is whether the programme breached Standard 8 (responsible programming) and Standard 9 (children’s interests) of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.

[4]  We have viewed a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.

Did the programme amount to an “advertisement” that was not clearly distinguishable from programme material?

[5]  Guideline 8d to Standard 8 (responsible programming) states:

Advertisements and infomercials should be clearly distinguishable from other programme material.

[6]  TVWorks acknowledged that the programme made reference to the Paddle Pop brand because the main character’s name was Paddle Pop, but argued that “the episode (unlike an advertisement) does not tie the brand to any product through imagery, a call to action, or storyline. There is no mention of iceblocks within the fantasy-based tale, and there is no advertising around the programme itself that relates the character’s name to that of the product.” It concluded that the episode was clearly a programme and not an advertisement, and declined to uphold the Standard 8 complaint.

[7]  At the beginning of the episode, the programme title Paddle Pop Begins was displayed; both the logo for Paddle Pop iceblocks, and the logo for their brand Streets were shown. In addition, the main character of the programme was named “Paddle Pop”. We understand and acknowledge the complainant’s concerns that these factors amounted to branding or a form of marketing for Paddle Pop.

[8]  However, we agree with the broadcaster that these factors, in isolation from any reference to the iceblock products, or any encouragement to buy those products, were insufficient to transform the programme into an “advertisement” for the purposes of guideline 8d. Paddle Pop Begins was clearly a children’s cartoon programme, and while we acknowledge that it is connected to a brand of iceblock and most likely other merchandise, as TVWorks has pointed out, this is not exclusive to the Paddle Pop brand; many other children’s programmes have food products and merchandise attached to them. In our opinion this is not an issue of broadcasting standards. It is more an issue of broader policy.

[9]  We therefore decline to uphold the complaint that Paddle Pop Begins breached Standard 8 (responsible programming).

Did the broadcaster adequately consider children’s interests?

[10]  Standard 9 requires broadcasters to consider the interests of child viewers during their normally accepted viewing times – usually up to 8.30pm. Guideline 9a states that broadcasters should be mindful of the effect any programme or promo may have on children during these times, and avoid screening material that would disturb or alarm them.

[11]  TVWorks noted that the programme was rated G and screened between other children’s programmes. It maintained that the programme contained nothing that was unsuitable for children, and that the reference to Paddle Pop the lion was not harmful to children in the manner alleged.

[12]  While we understand the complainant’s concern about the link between the programme and a brand of iceblock “high in sugar and fat”, we are satisfied that the programme itself was an animation designed to entertain a young audience. It did not contain anything that would have disturbed or alarmed child viewers in the manner envisaged by the standard.

[13]  We acknowledge that Ms Hynes has raised an issue which is worthy of broad discussion. Her complaint does not, however, come within broadcasting standards as they have been interpreted and applied in relation to children.

[14]  Accordingly, we decline to uphold this part of the complaint.

 

For the above reasons the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Peter Radich
Chair
28 February 2012

Appendix

The following correspondence was received and considered by the Authority when it determined this complaint:

1                  Amanda Hynes’ formal complaint – 13 October 2011

2                 TVWorks’ response to the complaint – 14 November 2011

3                 Ms Hynes’ referral to the Authority – 25 November 2011

4                 TVWorks’ response to the Authority – 9 December 2011

5                 Ms Hynes’ final comment – 29 January 2012