Thursday 11 April 2013

Truth In Advertising

There's a nasty ad in the Herald and the Dom Post today, asking people to pledge to stop marriage equality.

As well as being nasty and vindictive, it fails the advertising standards.

I made the following complaint:

I believe this advertisement in the New Zealand Herald does not meet the advertising standards on the following grounds:

Rule 1 - Identification

This advertisement is not  "clearly distinguishable as such" - the 'advertisement' disclaimer is small, and the main body of the ad is deliberately styled to look like official voting information, such as we saw in the run up to the last general election so it is not "readily recognised as an advertisement."

Rule 2 - Truthful presentation.

The ad contains a number of falsehoods, such as: "The politicians have ignored thousands of submissions," and "They are ramming this bill through without giving it the due consideration and debate it deserves." In fact, parliamentary process has been followed: submissions have been heard and the bill will receive three readings.

Rule 11 - Advocacy Advertising

It is not clear who "My Marriage Pledge" is; whether they are affiliated with the church or the state, who has paid for the advertisement, or how to contact them. With an advertisement such as this, they should be more accountable. The code states: "The identity of an advertiser in matters of public interest or political issue should be clear," and it is not in this case.

The advertising standards can be found here. You can make a complaint here, by uploading a scan of the ad, like this one here.

If you had any doubt who's behind this vitriol, here's your answer. (Spoiler: it's Family First!)

Update: the Wellingtonista also outraged.

Update: they're working on it.

I'll let you know the outcome.


  1. WELL DONE! - scube

  2. Wow unbelievable. Have copied all your words and put in a complaint myself. Thanks for your efforts!!

  3. Top shelf Rachel!