27 Oct, 2008

Ho, Ho…Oh, No!

With the silly season fast approaching and attention focused on industry alcohol and drug issues in B&T recently, now seemed like a good time to take guidance from our Occupational Health & Safety experts and outline processes that support the safe consumption of alcohol at work functions.

Under the OHS Act 2000, agencies have a duty of care to protect health, safety & welfare of everyone attending in-premises and out-of-office events. Whilst everyone in the workplace has a role to play in occupational health and safety, ultimate responsibility for providing a safe environment rests with fairly and squarely the employer.

Certainly there are individual responsibilities to be taken into account and we have assembled a fairly rigorous checklist for party organizers and management.

This checklist includes guidelines on venue risk assessment, security, responsible serving of alcohol (many agencies identify individuals with RSA qualifications), function conduct, the availability of adequate food (salty snacks do not suffice) and the responsibilities of the function organizer. A caution: don’t think responsibility to the venue if the function is off-premises. The buck stops with management.

22 Oct, 2008

Two Key Appointments Signal a New Era for AFA AdSchool

Anthony Freedman, founder and CEO of agency Host, has been appointed to the national board of the Advertising Federation of Australia with special responsibility for AFA AdSchool.

His appointment to the Training Board – replacing Jim Moser after his move to New Zealand – signals the start of a new era for AFA AdSchool. It coincides with the appointment of Linda Anderson [pictured], who has worked with the AFA for the past three years and in training the last 12 months as Professional Training Manager.

7 October 2008

The case against food advertising bans

B&T invited Mark Champion to argue (reason may be a better word) against food bans on TV…read the current issue for the opposing view point.

The reason people become obese is very simple – they consume much more energy than they expend.

It’s actually not a lot more complex to solve the problem – eat less and move around more.

So what has changed since the 1950s when research tells us that everyone was eating more than we are now? Fifty years ago however, we ate more to sustain a more active lifestyle, without the hours of screen time and sedentary leisure of modern day life.

The banning of food advertising to children on television is intended – according to the ‘health’ lobby – to control part of the “energy in” equation. Banning commercial messages to your children on just one medium is supposed to result in a curbing of their desire for those products – that’s the theory at least.

Let’s look at this view more closely. Firstly, science suggests its not the commercial messages themselves that are causing the “damage” – it’s more likely to be the sitting around that’s doing the damage, not the messages.

Secondly, there is a view among ‘health’ lobbyists that television is such a powerful influence on children’s lives that such a ban can be justified – even if the link can’t be proven.

The recent ACMA report on television standards stung the ‘health’ lobby by finally saying it – ‘It’ being that there is no evidence that banning ads will reduce childhood obesity.

The ACMA position is supported by international research. Sweden and Quebec have had such bans for years and the result? Children have got fatter – presumably because things that are prohibited are usually more attractive to children.

Recent research has also discovered that the impact television advertising contributes to the problem of childhood obesity is somewhere between 1-2% – less than the margin of error.

So why this dogged determination to portray television advertising of food as the bogeyman? It’s clearly more about politics and symbolism than anything to do with health outcomes.

So our politicians must resist the temptation to be seen to be doing ‘something’ by the banning of food advertising on TV – just to ameliorate the lobbyists. Obesity solutions requires a much more sophisticated response.

Industry would rather work with governments to find real solutions to a real problem. Industry will always be an important part of any solution, contributing product reformulation, development and marketing of healthier choices and support for education programmes to better equip consumers. And industry is already playing a vital and constructive role in this respect.

There is no place for bans on television advertising of foods – they can’t be justified and they don’t work.

Mark Champion, Executive Director, AFA

September 3, 2008

New AFA Members a Mirror of the New Agency World

Reflecting what Chairman Belinda Rowe calls, “the changing face of membership at the Advertising Federation of Australia (AFA),” eleven new members have signed on over recent months.

They span direct marketing, design, channel planning, production, promotional services, healthcare, multicultural, youth marketing and a recent start-up. All appear to be attracted to the broadening footprint and member services offered by the AFA …

7 July , 2008

New Australian Government Advertising Process announced

The Rudd Labor Government has released new advertising guidelines that will govern the content of Commonwealth Government campaign advertising.

Each advertising campaign will now be certified against the new guidelines by the chief executive of the commissioning department or agency, and major campaigns will be reviewed by the Auditor-General before the campaign is allowed to progress…

19 June , 2008

Alcohol Toll Reduction Bill – The Fielding Bill

The findings of the Senate Committee inquiry into the Fielding liquor Bill are out. The Committee has firmly REJECTED the proposals in that Bill and has recommended that the Bill NOT PROCEED.

You will recall that this Family First private members Bill has had its first reading and was sent off for Inquiry by the Senate.

The major recommendations in the Bill were –

  • Restrict TV and radio alcohol advertising to after 9pm and before 5 am to stop alcohol being marketed to young people
  • Require all alcohol advertisements to be pre-approved by an Australian Communications Media Authority (ACMA) division
  • Ban alcohol advertisements that are aimed at children or which link drinking to personal, business, social, sporting, sexual or other success.

The Committee recommends that additional safeguards be put in place by ABAC and others to ensure that children are not adversely influenced by liquor ads during sport coverage and that a code be developed by ABAC and others for packaging and labelling.

The Committee said it supported the broad aims of the Bill, but that the Bill was going about it in the wrong way.

They pointed to the Binge Drinking Campaign announced by PM Rudd as a better way of tackling the issue.

Its also worth noting that promoters of the Bill – Family First – have lodged a dissenting report having clearly lost the battle in the Committee.

 27 May, 2008

Advertising Effectiveness Awards Refreshed With Effie Brand.

The AFA Advertising Effectiveness Awards have been comprehensively revised, refreshed and relaunched for 2009.

The Awards will now run under the internationally recognised benchmark for effective advertising, the Effie Awards.

10 June, 2008

The AFA has moved to a New Address

‘Same Street – New Number – Same Phone Number’

From Monday June 2 2008 the AFA is located at:

Advertising Federation of Australia
65 York St
Sydney NSW 2000

(Go through the front door, turn left and up the stairs to the Mezzanine Floor)

Postal Address
PO Box Q1389, QVB Post Office
Sydney NSW 1230

3 May , 2008

Photos from AFA AGM and ‘The Gruen Transfer’ preview

Following the AFA AGM, Andrew Denton and Jon Casimir Q&A ‘The Gruen Transfer’ to AFA & AWARD members …

1 May , 2008

The Colour Purple: Sweet Win For Darrell Lea

We often hear about the power of the brand. There was no better reminder of the lengths a company will go to protect their brand than the on-going battle by Cadbury’s to own the colour purple so prominent in their packaging and advertising. We asked our legal advisors Debbie Marczak and Stephen von Muenster to summarise and offer advice on using competitor’s colours.

In a sweet victory for Darrell Lea, the Federal Court recently ruled that Darrell Lea’s use of the colour purple did not amount to misleading or deceptive conduct under the Trade Practices Act, as had been alleged by Cadbury.

To summarise a 5-year dispute, in 2003 Cadbury initiated proceedings against Darrell Lea, alleging they engaged misleading or deceptive conduct and passing off by using a shade of purple that closely resembled its own “Cadbury Purple”. In 2006, Justice Heerey of the Federal Court dismissed Cadbury’s claim, finding that Cadbury did not own the colour purple and as such, Darrell Lea was entitled to use the colour as long as it did not convey to the reasonable consumer that it had some connection with Cadbury. Cadbury then appealed the decision on the basis that the original judge was incorrect in refusing to admit evidence from marketing experts regarding the importance of colour in marketing and sales activities. In 2007, the Full Court upheld Cadbury’s appeal and the case was remitted to the original trial judge for further hearing.

In the further hearing, the expert evidence was permitted and Cadbury adduced evidence from three experts in the field of sales and marketing, who discussed the important role of colour in consumers’ chocolate-purchasing decisions and the value of colour in developing brand equity. Having considered the additional evidence Justice Heerey, held that Darrell Lea had not breached the Trade Practices Act or engaged in passing off as their use of the colour purple would not result in consumers being misled or deceived.

The judge highlighted that conduct which results in mere confusion or consumers being “caused to wonder” does not amount to misleading or deceptive conduct under the Act. He said consumers know that other chocolate makers use purple and that the reasonable consumer could see chocolate in a purple wrapper with Darrell Lea’s name on it in a Darrell Lea shop and not be confused into thinking it was a Cadbury product.

However, the 5-year battle between Cadbury and Darrell Lea may not be over yet, with Cadbury indicating that it will appeal. We’ll keep you posted on any new developments to this long-running saga.

In the meantime, although you (or your clients) may be tempted to start using certain colours on your packaging or marketing that are used by your competitors, please remember that each case turns on its own facts. In this case, the facts supported Darrell Lea’s case. For instance, it was noted that many of Cadbury’s products feature little or no purple; purple was never used by Cadbury in isolation but was always combined with the “Cadbury” script; the names “Darrell Lea” and “Cadbury” are quite distinct; most of Darrell Lea’s retailing occurs on its own premises; other competitors such as Nestlé’s Violet Crumble use purple, and the list goes on.

So although Darrell Lea won the day in this instance, there is no guarantee that you will too if you use a specific colour in a way that could mislead the ordinary consumer, particularly where your competitor has a strong reputation associated with that colour.

The case also serves as a reminder that companies will often act aggressively to protect their brand identity. So if your marketing materials and packaging are similar to that of a competitor, you may be up for expensive and time-consuming litigation, regardless of who a court may determine is the ultimate winner.

For further information go to www.vmsolicitors.com.au, (02) 8221 0933.

10 April, 2008

Government Regulations Update

The advertising industry is now faced with a multi-pronged threat to how advertisers in sensitive sectors can market their products. The influence of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on western health ministries and many governments concerned about the marketing of alcohol and food products continues to be very significant. The policies on liquor and food for the European Union – are now very closely in alignment with those of WHO.

The ability of advertisers to promote their products during major sporting events at any time of the day or night, the freedom to use sporting or other heroes to promote products and the freedom afforded under sponsorship rules could all be at risk. As signalled in last month’s AFA Newsletter, submissions on the Alcohol Toll Reduction Bill closed on March 20. But prior to this the Prime Minister entered the debate by announcing a $50 million package to change the nation’s culture of binge drinking. It appears the Government will make a real effort to approach the problem by changing behaviours rather than politically seductive knee-jerk bans on advertising. So in that sense it’s good for our industry. But, very clearly, Canberra expects industry to change the way alcohol is marketed and if the industry does not move voluntarily, the Government may very well force the issue.

Another inquiry has been launched – this time it’s the House of Representatives Health Committee – investigating obesity in Australia. The media release suggests the inquiry will not just be around the causes of obesity, but what impact it is having on our health system. Submissions deadline is next month. If our Government followed the WHO policy ‘template’ we could see the removal of advertisements of high sugar, fat or salt foods out of programs that children watch i.e. into a post 8.30pm or 9pm watershed. This move is being attempted or achieved in many jurisdictions around the world and is one of the objectives being pursued by the Ministry of Health across the Tasman. Coupled with any move to ban certain foods from children’s viewing is the need to classify foods – in other words to draw up a list of foods which are ‘bad’ and which are ‘good.’ A daunting task indeed, but one that has been attempted with limited success in a number of jurisdictions.

10 March , 2008

Special offer for AFA agencies: 10% discount for a subscription to Contagious Communication.

Every year, Contagious publishes a round-up of the most innovative ideas on: branded content; web 2.0; mobile marketing; social networking/user-generated content; word of mouth; ambient; viral; interactive/web; blogs; video games; retail initiatives; relationship marketing; experiential marketing; innovative product design; strategic alliances; emerging technologies.

A subscription includes 4 Hard Copy reports (1 per quarter), a DVD with roughly 100 examples of great NTM from around the world as well as access for you and four of your colleagues to their online resource which includes news, sections from the hardcopy, a searchable archive of over 2000 campaigns and a playlist function. The order form for this special offer can be found on the last page of the Most Contagious 2007 report.

 23 Jan, 2008

AFA Appoints New Events and Sponsorship Manager

The Advertising Federation of Australia has appointed Jo Libline as its new Events and Sponsorship Manager.

Jo has extensive background in events management and sponsorship development and support, and has worked extensively in the Australian and New Zealand tourism and wine industries.

11 Jan, 2008

Leonardo Premutico and Johannes Jacobs

Gawen Rudder talks with Southern Hemisphere wunderkinds Leonardo Premutico and Johannes Jacobs In New York about start-ups, being scared and creative-client relationships.