Watchdog finds 'ABs' ad contravenes code

By James Ihaka, NZPA

A pub has been told it is not allowed to advertise All Blacks rugby matches in the local newspaper.

The Cock and Bull in Hamilton placed an ad saying "ABs vs Aus LIVE on the Big Screen" during the Tri-Nations competition.

But the ad in the free Hamilton This Week paper prompted a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority from the Group Against Liquor Advertising.

The complainant said the letters "ABs" were clearly intended to mean the All Blacks.

By offering the chance to see the All Blacks at the pub, the ad breached the advertising code which says liquor advertisements should not use or refer to identifiable heroes or heroines of the young. The authority upheld the complaint because the Cock and Bull described itself as a pub, restaurant and brewery as well as mentioning two liquor products in a preceding ad.

The chief executive of the Hospitality Association, Bruce Robertson, last night described the ruling as "pretty precious and pedantic".

"I would not expect most smaller retailers would consider that advertising Australia playing against the All Blacks would be in breach of the [advertising] code."

Mr Robertson said he would take a close look at the ruling. He worried for pub owners - most of whom did not have an in-depth understanding of the liquor advertising code.

"It seems like that code is being applied in a broader context so we will have to look at the implications to increase awareness," he said.

The Cock and Bull said the code referred to heroes or heroines of the young, and the All Blacks appealed to a wide cross-section of society.

And the chain of bars was modelled on a traditional English pub to drinkers aged over 25.

Hamilton This Week said it had withdrawn the advertisement.

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