Moa chastised for Olympic reference

WILLIAM MACE
Last updated 18:51 05/11/2012
Moa Beer
NEW MOVE: Moa Beer will be New Zealand's first publicly-listed craft brewer.

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Local brewer and soon-to-be listed company Moa Beer has been rapped over the knuckles for a full-page newspaper advertisement which equated its 1.5 litre ‘‘victory magnums’’ with New Zealand’s Olympic medallists.

The Advertising Standards Authority has found the the ad, which depicted a magnum of beer alongside text stating ‘‘Beer for Olympians’’ and the Kiwi Olympic team’s logo, appealed to under 18 year-olds because it referred to what the ASA calls ‘‘heroes of the young’’.

The same rule applies, for instance, to Steinlager’s sponsorship of the All Blacks where the alcohol brand’s public advertising cannot directly refer to the All Blacks or any recognisable individuals within the team.
The rule is designed to avoid equating sporting success with alcohol in the minds of young people.

In the ASA’s latest judgment it said the generic term ‘‘Olympians’’ was also subject to the rule because New Zealand’s Olympic athletes were clearly aspirational for young people.

‘‘While no Olympian was mentioned by name, [the ASA’s complaints board] was of the view that the likely consumer take out of the advertisement was that it referred to New Zealand’s Olympic medal winners,’’ said the decision.

‘‘The complaints board said the athletes that won medals at the Olympics were aspirational to many and particular young people and could be regarded as identifiable heroes or heroines of the young, similar to the All Blacks.

‘‘Therefore, the complaints board said the association of Olympian athletes with alcohol in the advertisement before it was inappropriate.’’

In response to the public complaint, Moa said it believed the ‘‘heroes of the young’’ rule referred to competitors participating in a sporting event and not the actual sport or event itself.

‘‘To this we very deliberately omitted any direct reference to an Olympic athlete,’’ said the company.

Moa also said the advertisement was not targeted at under 18 year-olds and was a one-off during the Olympics and would not run again.

Moa Beer signed up to be the official beer of the New Zealand Olmpic team for London 2012, and was served at the official gathering place of New Zealanders at the games, known as Kiwi House.

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Successful athletes were extensively photographed and filmed celebrating their Olympic wins with Moa’s distinctive corked beer bottles.

The ASA ruled only that the advertisement should be removed.

- BusinessDay.co.nz

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