10.04.2018

100% PURE NEW ZEALAND

Not all claims in advertising are meant to be taken literally.
However, when they are, they may be open to challenge as Tourism New Zealand has recently found out. Tourism New Zealand’s “100% Pure New Zealand” campaign has recently come under fire both internationally and locally, including a claim being brought before the New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”).
Environmentalist Dr. Peter Nuttall lodged a complaint with the ASA in March this year regarding the campaign. The complaint was dismissed by the ASA Complaints Board and appealed by Dr. Nuttall in August. The basis of Dr Nuttall’s complaint was that research into New Zealand’s environment showed a degradation of its beaches, waterways and biodiversity thus making the campaign “misleading” and “unsubstantiated.”
Dr. Nuttall’s complaint was brought primarily under the ASA’s Code for Environmental Claims and secondly, under the ASA’s Code of Ethics. The objective of the Code for Environmental Claims is to ensure that advertisers and marketers develop and maintain rigorous standards when making environmental claims in advertising and to increase consumer confidence to the benefit of the environment, consumers and industry.
In determining whether the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign was in fact in breach of the Code for Environmental Claims, the Complaints Board said that the expression “100% Pure New Zealand” and the images combined with the accompanying text were contextually relevant to promoting New Zealand as a unique tourist destination. Despite Dr. Nuttall’s argument that “almost without exception, most commentators, whether they support the complaint or not see a strong environmental connection with the 100% Pure NZ Claim,” the Complaints Board held the expression “100% Pure New Zealand” was a positioning statement used to promote the unique experience New Zealand offered international tourists rather than a claim about New Zealand’s environmental purity. The advertisements did not imply that the environments featured were 100% pure, rather they implied that these scenes and places were a part of the unique visitor experience. The Complaints Board concluded that the Code for Environmental Claims had not been breached.
Under the Code of Ethics the Complaints Board considered whether or not the campaign contained anything which either directly or by implication, was likely to deceive or mislead the consumer or impair public confidence in advertising. The ASA also considered whether or not the campaign had been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to both consumers and society. The ASA considered Tourism New Zealand’s response which quoted parts of a speech given by one of its former CEOs “the phrase ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ was the synthesis of everything we are – as a people, as a country and as an experience.” Tourism New Zealand then went on to say “when considered as part of the whole message, “pure” becomes synonymous with “genuine” and “authentic” – 100% authentic New Zealand.” The Complaints Board agreed with Tourism New Zealand and again held that “100% Pure New Zealand” was a positioning statement rather than an absolute claim of environmental purity.
Accordingly, Dr. Nuttall’s complaint was not upheld.
Arguably, the general public would never have regarded the campaign as literally meaning that everything in New Zealand was 100% pure, if for no other reason than it being practically impossible. However, the case shows that in some instances such claims can be considered in a literal sense and advertisers should take some care in this regard. The ASA decision ultimately has supported that claims should be considered in context and not be considered to have a wider application than was clearly meant.
Do you need expert legal advice?
Contact the expert team at Hesketh Henry.
Kerry_100x100 1
Media contact - Kerry Browne
Please contact Kerry with any media enquiries and with any questions related to marketing or sponsorships on +64 9 375 8747 or via email.

Related Articles / Insights & Opinion

Design life in the spotlight!
Blackpool Borough Council v Volkerfitzpatrick [2020] EWHC 1523 (TCC) In 2009, Blackpool Borough Council (Principal), as principal, contracted with Volkerfitzpatrick Ltd (Contractor), as head contracto...
COVID-19 and the Future of Force Majeure
Not since Y2K have force majeure clauses been of so much focus.
Shareholder Agreements:  The Corporate “Pre-nup”
You’ve got a great idea for a business and you’re pumped to get to work. 
23.06.2020 Posted in Business Advice & Company Law
Wake Up Call for #Influencer Marketers
A recent decision by New Zealand’s Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”) concerning a sponsored Instagram story posted by a well-recognised New Zealand personality, serves to remind all partie...
12.06.2020 Posted in Advertising Law
COVID-19: Weekly Construction Briefings
12 June 2020 New Zealand has moved into Alert Level 1 from 8 June 2020. While this means that life has largely returned to normal, as physical distancing and other restrictions have been removed, upd...
12.06.2020 Posted in Construction Law & COVID-19
Liquidated damages and penalty clauses: the last word on Honey Bees
The Supreme Court’s judgment in 127 Hobson Street Limited & Anor v Honey Bees Preschool Limited & Anor [2020] NZSC 53 confirms the test for determining when a clause in a contract designed t...
10.06.2020 Posted in Construction Law
COVID-19: OIO Urgent measures – Coming soon!
The Overseas Investment (Urgent Measures) Amendment Act 2020 (“Amendment Act”) was passed on 28 May 2020 and received Royal Assent on 2 June 2020.  The majority of the Amendment Act will ...
Send us an enquiry
For expert legal advice, please complete the form below or call us on (09) 375 8700.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.