Despite promising to make a decision by September last year on how far the advertising clean zones, clean transport routes and clean periods for the Rugby World Cup would extend, the Ministry of Economic Development is yet to formally announce its decision. And, as you'd expect, media owners, buyers and planners have been getting a bit titchy about it, because they want to get stuck into the RWC goldrush but can't sell their packages. Well, we have it on good authority that all the outdoor assets 500m from the stadia and the main transport routes have now been sold to Rugby NZ 2011 for use by the RWC sponsors.
Back in May last year, some were under the impression the exclusion zones reserved for official sponsors would stretch for two kilometres around each stadium (the law allowed it to stretch up to a rather ridiculous five kilometres). Rugby NZ 2011 were happy with a distance of 500m. But the MED, as bureaucrats are prone to doing, just kept faffing around. Now, it seems as if the envisaged 500m ruling has been agreed to, with all the space in the clean zones (which was purchased by Rugby NZ 2011's media agency OMD to make New Zealand's hosting bid more attractive) thought to have been taken up by the sponsors. So, if the sponsors were happy, you really do have to wonder what took the MED so long (check the stories here and here for some background on the issue).
MED spokesperson Emilia Mazur was unable to unable to be contacted to confirm the ruling, but said in an email last year that once a notice declaring clean zones, clean transport routes and clean periods for Rugby World Cup 2011 was issued, there would be appropriate publicity around the effects of those declarations. She also said there had not been a substantial amount of reaction from the industry about the lack of information, "presumably because details regarding clean zones, clean transport routes and clean periods had not been finalised."
But Jo Davenport, project manager at OMANZ, says she has fielded plenty of calls from association members that are still in limbo about the advertising rules set to be imposed by the Major Events Management Act.
"While there are advertising ‘clean zones’ close to each stadia across the country for the tournament period that restrict who can and cannot advertise, other advertisers have plenty of scope and opportunity to plan their OOH campaigns in advance, as many are already doing. The media operators are already reporting strong bookings and demand for key sites heading into September 2011 as clients and agencies identify the importance of OOH in their media mix. Our expectations are that this will continue over the next few months as clients lock down their 2011 campaign plans. So our message to agencies is to book their clients’ inventory sooner rather than later.”