Advertising regulation refers to the laws and rules defining the ways in which products can be advertised in a particular region. Rules can define a wide number of different aspects, such as placement, timing, and content. In the United States, false advertising and health-related ads are regulated the most. Many communities have their own rules, particularly for outdoor advertising. Sweden and Norway prohibit domestic advertising that targets children. Some European countries don’t allow sponsorship of children’s programs, no advertisement can be aimed at children under the age of twelve, and there can be no advertisements five minutes before or after a children’s program is aired. In the United Kingdom advertising of tobacco on television, billboards or at sporting events is banned. Similarly alcohol advertisers in the United Kingdom are not allowed to discuss in a campaign the relative benefits of drinking, in most instances therefore choosing to focus around the brand image and associative benefits instead of those aligned with consumption. There are many regulations throughout the rest of Europe as well. In many non-Western countries, a wide-variety of linguistic (Bhatia 2000, pp. 217–218) and non-linguistic strategies (e.g. religion; Bhatia 2000, pp 280–282) are used to mock and undermine regulations.
In New Zealand, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regulates advertising content. The ASA's complaints board (ASCB) consists of public representatives and representatives of media, advertising agencies, and advertisers, and its decisions are based on the ASA's Advertising Codes of Practice. The ASCB considers complaints submitted by members of the public (a different procedure is followed for competitor complaints). In the event that a complaint is upheld, the ASA requests that the advertiser voluntarily withdraw the advertisement.
In the United Kingdom, advertising content regulation is governed by the Advertising Standards Authority whereas in the UK most forms of outdoor advertising such as the display of billboards is regulated by the UK Town and County Planning system. Currently the display of an advertisement without consent from the Planning Authority is a criminal offence liable to a fine of £2500 per offence. All of the major outdoor billboard companies in the UK have convictions of this nature.