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  • Advertising regulator backs Radio Nova’s “Addicted to Sex on Fire” posters

    August 31, 2012 @ 4:50 pm | by Laura Slattery

    Sex sells is one of the oldest axioms in the book, but should Radio Nova’s “Addicted to Sex on Fire” posters have been placed on billboards located near primary schools? No, says the principal of one Dublin primary school, who along with two other individuals complained to the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland about the ad.

    The poster, which references Kings of Leon’s ubiquitous hit Sex on Fire, was placed on the sides of busses and 48-sheet billboards around Dublin this summer.

    Pinpointing the cheeky comic device of the campaign, one of the complainants observed that the words “on fire” appear in a smaller font than “addicted to sex”, arguing that therefore the content of the ad was unsuitable when placed on a billboard located in “close proximity” to a primary school.

    The ASAI has rejected the complaints. “The Committee did not consider the content of the advertising was likely to result in physical, mental or moral harm to children, nor was the content likely to frighten or disturb them,” it has adjudicated.

    The advertising body also accepted the response of Radio Nova, which said the song, one of the most played tracks on its playlist, was well-known, “mainstream” in fact, having spent a long 42 weeks in the UK chart. (I’ve yet to meet anyone who knows any of the lyrics apart from the “sex on fire” bit.) To the best of their knowledge, the bearded rockers’ crossover hit had never been banned or restricted in any way. “This would suggest that both the authorities and general public felt that the track was acceptable,” it told the ASAI.

    “We pointed out that Sex on Fire had been a very well-known song and that it had been number one in 17 countries,” says Kevin Branigan, Radio Nova’s chief executive. “We hadn’t expected any complaints.”

     Three other ads in the campaign, designed to showcase the classic rock station’s “seriously addictive” slogan, read “Mark, 27. Addicted to Money by Pink Floyd”, “Ciara, 35. Addicted to Whiskey in the Jar”, and Brian, 41. Addicted to Brown Sugar by the Rolling Stones”. The ads, which feature “real” Radio Nova listeners, ran in equal rotation and could be seen with equal frequency throughout the city.

    Promising to liaise with its outdoor advertising agency regarding future campaign placements, Radio Nova stressed that it did not choose the particular poster site and were not trying to target schoolchildren. The station, which is celebrating its two-year anniversary, is squarely aimed at 25-44-year-olds – people who are old enough to remember the, gasp, 1990s, or maybe even a time before sex addiction was a thing.

  • Rose of Tralee wins fewer hearts in Ireland’s living rooms

    August 22, 2012 @ 7:48 pm | by Laura Slattery

    Was this year’s Rose of Tralee the least watched in the history of its televising? According to RTÉ, it was “a big hit with viewers”, but the TAM Ireland ratings reveal that 16 years after Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan parodied the contest in Father Ted, the show’s popularity is on the wane. The final night of the contest, in which the winner is “crowned”, attracted the lowest television audience for at least eight years.

    An average of 688,500 viewers tuned into the final on Tuesday, with the show garnering the eyeballs of 45 per cent of the total number of people watching television at the time. This is still a grand old audience for a midweek summer night. But to put it in context, it’s only around 100,000 more than the typical viewership of an episode of weight loss lifestyle show Operation Transformation, which, unlike the Kerry hat-and-sash fest, is capable of being genuinely motivational without a surfeit of cringe.

    More pertinently, this year’s Rose of Tralee television audience compares unfavourably with the show’s undoubted ratings success, even in recent years. Average ratings reached 916,000 in 2010 (a 54 per cent share) and 829,000 in 2011 (a 53 per cent share). Looking at the figures reported in RTÉ’s annual reports from 2005 onwards, only 2008 was anywhere near as low, with 696,000 viewers and a 47 per cent share – this was the only other time during the period that the audience share dipped below 50 per cent. The show still managed to scrape into Ireland’s top 10 most watched programmes that year, however, coming joint eighth. It may not make the cut this time around.

    Perhaps 2012, like 2008, is just a blip – the result of warm weather, or the fact Celtic was playing in a Champions League qualifier over on TV3. Maybe 2013 will see ratings inexorably improve, as new executive producers are shipped in to “reinvent” the not-a-beauty-pageant personality pageant. Roses could be ordered to relay anecdotes from a Graham Norton-style red chair, while escorts could be required to pass a Ryan Gosling lookalike test before they’re allowed claim the honour of looking sheepish for Ireland. Maybe a televised game of Prince Harry-style strip billiards would help.

    But with any luck, the show will just slowly become more and more irrelevant, to the point that even “ironic” watching will eventually taper off. In the meantime, I’m going to take pleasure in the fact that more people (1.1 million, or 747,000 across the full coverage) watched Katie Taylor punch her way to an Olympic gold medal on a Thursday afternoon. This is 2012, and there are plenty of ways for lovely girls to compete with each other. Loveliness really shouldn’t be one of them.


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