4 December 2008
Veritas bitterly disappointed that Christmas Radio Advert has been blocked by the BCI
Veritas is bitterly disappointed that it has been essentially blocked by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) from broadcasting a radio advert on RTÉ that would allow the store to advertise its presence and sell its products on the Christmas market. Veritas booked the advertising space last August and has been endeavouring to secure approval for an advert since early November. This week we had yet another version of the advert blocked by the BCI. RTÉ has indicated to Veritas and to the BCI that they are willing to broadcast a version of the advert as presented. The BCI is in our view taking an extremely narrow view of current legislation and is unfairly applying somewhat different standards to Veritas than to other bodies.
Maura Hyland of Veritas said today: ‘We fail to understand the thinking of the BCI on this matter. We have submitted three versions of adverts, which were designed by an agency to ensure compliance with the legislation – and all have been rejected. We are simply trying to inform people of our presence and sell products in our shops and on our website. Many people all around the country enjoy these products. The ongoing blocking of our advert by the BCI is seriously affecting our capacity to trade in an open marketplace and we will have to take some further action.’
Maura Hyland went on to say: ‘We note a myriad of adverts being broadcast for alcohol, for example – which are not creating difficulties for the BCI. The products we sell will cause no harm or offence, as only those who want them as presents or for personal use will purchase them. We are retailers and publishers and surely we have a right to advertise our products so that the many people, who willingly wish to purchase them will be aware of our presence and broad product range. Our very existence in this competitive marketplace is being threatened by the actions of the BCI.’
This is a copy of the latest advert submitted by Veritas and rejected by the BCI –
“Cake and crackers, Santa and stockings, turkey and tinsel
Mistletoe and mince pies, and presents and puddings.
Christmas: aren’t we forgetting something?
This Christmas, why not give a gift that means more?
Veritas has a range of different and thoughtful gifts, for children and adults alike. From books and music to candles and artwork, there is something for everyone to enjoy and treasure.
So to give a gift that means more, drop into your local Veritas shop or log on to www.veritas.ie”
The main issues raised by the BCI in its rejection of the advert were:
- In the advert Veritas is asking people to visit its website (www.veritas.ie) – and this is not acceptable to the BCI
- The following phrases (all included in correspondence from BCI) are deemed by the BCI to ‘offend the legislation’ – “Christmas, aren’t we forgetting something?” – “Why not give a gift that means more?” – “So to give a gift that means more …”
Note to Editors
Veritas has its origins in the Catholic Truth Society of Ireland, which in 1899, decided to publish and make available a range of religious materials that would appeal to Irish people. This ongoing supply of materials (not all of which are religious) to people who want them is still the core business of Veritas, which itself has no pastoral role. Veritas, with the support of the Catholics Bishops Conference, came into existence in 1969. Veritas is fully owned by the Catholic Bishop’s Conference and is governed by an appointed Executive Board. See www.veritas.ie
2. Extracts from Legal View provided by Mason Hayes & Curran Solicitors
The absurdity of the decision of the Commission (BCI) can be demonstrated by replacing the word Veritas as it appears in the advert and replacing it with Eason and Avoca or any other store. It is almost certainly the case that an identical advert from those advertisers would not be rejected by the Commission.
It is our firm view that the BCI is mistaken in the restrictive and discriminatory interpretation of the governing legislation and Code. Clearly the BCI has applied the wrong test in determining the suitability of the Veritas advert.
Sinead Rogers, Veritas 01 8788177 / 087 932 3331
Wally Young, Young Communications 01 6680530 / 087 2471520