Pie ads during Disney film - not ok says ASB

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 10 February 2016

A complaint lodged by the Obesity Policy Coalition a TV ad for Patties party pies has been upheld by the Advertising Standards Board for promoting an unhealthy food during the children’s movie, Frozen, on Channel Seven.

The ad features a family of four at home during an afternoon snack time occasion. When the pies are ready, the mother calls for her son who comes down the stairs in slow motion wearing an astronaut costume. The end voice over states "Patties Pies - The party pies they eat in outer space". The text then reads "Best Snack Ever".

The complaint against the commercial uses the guidelines set in place by the Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative (RCMI) which outlines food products are not to be advertised to children less than 12-years-old unless those products represent healthier dietary choices.

“In our submission the advertisement breaches the RCMI because it is a communication directed primarily to children and party pies do not represent a healthy dietary choice. Thirdly it does not promote good dietary habits or physical activity," the complaint says.

“Clearly this advertisement is directed primarily to children. It features a child’s voice, child directed language (“The party pies they eat in outer space” and “Best Snack Ever).

“Furthermore, this advertisement was broadcast on Channel Seven during the movie Frozen. It is well known that this has been the most popular movie among children in recent years. It is not a family movie; it is movie with themes, visuals and language directed primarily to children.”

Patties Foods defended the ad saying it was not aimed at children under 12.

“Frozen aired at 7pm on a Saturday night which is prime family movie viewing time, whereby families would enjoy coming together to watch such films," the brand says.

The ASB found the ad breaches part of the RCMI because of the nutritional value of the Patties party pies, and because it was aired during a children's movie.

However, the ASB did not consider  the content of the Patties ad to be directed primarily at children, despite the reference to the space theme.

“The board noted the theme of the advertisement and considered that a promotion of snack sized pies which can be cooked from frozen in the oven is not a theme which would be of principal appeal to children," the ASB says.

In response to the determination, Patties said it "accepts the Board’s decision and will abide by it, it maintains that it did not deliberately set out to market to children".

Patties says in the future it will work further with its media buyer and the broadcasters to address this issue to prevent the Advertisement and future campaigns being screened at inappropriate times.

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