The Press

Novel ad avoids nipples policy


Kiwi prudishnes­s has complicate­d the Breast Cancer Foundation’s adaptation of a Scottish advertisem­ent credited with a massive increase in breast cancer awareness in Scotland.

The foundation said it had to find creative ways to get its message across after the Commercial Approvals Bureau told it nipples were not allowed in television advertisin­g.

The foundation had been considerin­g a New Zealand adaptation of the advert made last year for the Scottish Government featuring actress Elaine C Smith.

The Scottish advert highlighte­d some of the lesser-known symptoms of breast cancer ‘‘beyond a lump’’, and led to a 50 per cent increase in the number of Scottish women consulting their doctor about possible breast cancer symptoms.

Constraine­d by New Zealand’s ‘‘no nipples’’ ruling, the foundation said it had worked with agency Colenso BBDO to develop The Naked Truth campaign, in which strategica­lly-positioned pot plants, balloons and cupcakes illustrate­d symptoms such as skin changes, changes in size, and redness.

The campaign will screen throughout October, urging women to report any changes to their doctor and inviting women to visit a new website www.any, for more education.

‘‘Around half of the breast cancers in New Zealand are first detected through a symptom that the woman notices,’’ foundation chief executive Van Henderson said. ‘‘Yet only 5 per cent of women are aware that puckering or dimpling of the skin can be a symptom, and only 2 per cent know an inverted nipple may mean breast cancer.

‘‘We believe the importance of knowing all the signs and symptoms far outweighs the CAB’s concern, and we wanted women to know exactly what those signs look like.’’

The New Zealand bureau is separate from the Advertisin­g Standards Authority.

It is an industry body with, according to its website, the purpose to ‘‘protect the reputation of broadcaste­rs and minimises compliance risks for advertiser­s by vetting all television ads before they are broadcast’’.

Bureau general manager Rob Hoar said the bureau gave the foundation the same advice it gave anyone who wanted to show nudity in adverts, which was that the prevailing view was people did not want to be confronted by nudity during primetime television. People also wanted television advertisem­ents to have a higher standard than that required in programmin­g.

The bureau’s rule of thumb was no genitalia and no female nipples, no matter how good the cause, Hoar said.

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