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Dutch shun political TV ads

AMSTERDAM-The Dutch government is urging political parties to reconsider any plans to use TV in their ad campaigns for local, general and European elections coming up in March, May and June. Hedy d'Ancona, cabinet minister responsible for the media, said she wants to avoid American-style political TV ad campaigns, viewed as controversial and hard-hitting.

Several parties have declared interest in using TV advertising nonetheless, but the state TV network and Luxembourg-based RTL, which also reaches the Netherlands, so far are refusing political ads.

Sexism up in Sydney

SYDNEY-Complaints about sexism in advertising have increased fourfold to 310 out of a total 1.298 complaints in the past year, a record according to the Advertising Standards Council, the industry's self-regulatory body. Slightly more than half the identifiable complaints were lodged by women, said Council Executive Director Colin Harcourt. One quarter were from men while the remainder were from groups or not identified by gender.

The Council heard about 40% of the complaints. "Most advertisers are quite responsible," he said, "but every now and again agencies like to test the limits of acceptability."

P&G fights battle of the bars

BOMBAY-Unilever and Procter & Gamble are engaged in another legal battle over an ad for Lever's Rin detergent bar that P&G claims disparages its Ariel detergent bar.

A Bombay High Court hearing is expected this month in response to a $6.4 million suit filed Jan. 24 by P&G India against Unilever, satellite network Zee TV and Priya Tendulkar, an actress posing as a housewife in Lever's spot.

The 35-second spot in Hindi created by Lintas India shows the "housewife" testing Rin and another detergent identified only as the "new bar" but in packaging similar to Ariel. Under running tap water, the "new bar" develops a larger hole than Rin and dissolves quicker. The "housewife" then says: "All that glitters is not gold and all blue bars are not Rin."

P&G claims that the use of the actress, who played a housewife crusading against all kinds of corruption in a TV serial several years ago, could have a substantial effect in swaying the buying public from its product.

P&G's agency Chaitra Leo Burnett also lodged a complaint Jan. 14 with the Advertising Standards Council and against government-run Doordarshan which was airing the commercial.

Four days later, Doordarshan asked Lintas to stop running the spot. Instead, Lintas increased its frequency on Zee TV and Doordarshan from four to eight times daily, prompting the court action.

Justice Ajit Shah of the Bombay High Court refused to grant P&G India a temporary injunction restraining Lever from running the spot.

Which is Czech TV?

PRAGUE-State-run Czech TV filed suit last month before the Commercial Court of the City of Prague against upstart private TV channel Nova over the latter's new TV ad campaign (AAI, Jan. 17). Created by Leo Burnett for the channel's debut Feb. 4, the spot states: "We are Czech television, not Czech Television." Vladim¡r ÉeleznË, Nova director general said "We wanted to explain we are Czech in character." The suit claims no damages; it's not known when, if ever, the case will be heard. Until then, Nova is continuing to run its promotional spots.

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