Advertising Standards Bureau (Australia)

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Advertising Standards Bureau
Abbreviation ASB
Region served

The Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) manages the complaint resolution process of the advertising self-regulation system in Australia.[1]

The Bureau functions as secretariat for the Advertising Standards Board and the Advertising Claims Board – the two independent bodies were established to determine consumer and competitive complaints against the advertising self-regulatory Codes.[1]

The advertising self-regulation system is funded by a levy on advertising in Australia.[2]


The Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) was established in 1998 by the Advertising industry to regulate complaints about advertising in Australia.[3]

The ASB originally only considered complaints under the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Code of Ethics. The remit of the ASB has since expanded to administering a range of Codes and Initiatives.[4]

In 2006 ASB joined the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) to ensure access to an appropriate best practice model for advertising complaint resolution.[5] The Advertising Standards Bureau complies absolutely with the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) Best Practice Principles.[6]

Statistics and Issues[edit]

The ASB receives thousands of complaints every year. In 2015 the ASB received more than 4000 complaints about 450 different advertisements, 70 of which were found to be in breach of advertising standards.[7]

The most common issues which people raise in complaints are around sex, sexuality and nudity and discrimination.[8]

The most complained about advertisement looked at by ASB was Meat and Livestock Australia’s 2016 Australia Day ad which received over 500 complaints.[9]

The majority of complaints against advertisements are dismissed, with less than 100 ads each year found to breach advertising standards.[10]


The ASB considers complaints about all advertising or marketing material across all mediums in Australia.[11]

The ASB will accept a complaint if it falls under any of the Codes and Initiatives it administers.

The ASB administers a range of Codes for the Australian Association of National Advertisers,[12] including:

  • The AANA Code of Ethics
  • The AANA Code for Advertising and Marketing Communications to Children
  • The AANA Food & Beverages Advertising and Marketing Communications Code
  • The AANA Environmental Claims in Advertising & Marketing Code
  • The AANA Wagering Advertising & Marketing Communications Code

The ASB also administers Codes for the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), including:

  • AFGC Responsible Children's Marketing Initiative
  • AFGC Quick Service Restaurant Initiative For Responsible Advertising And Marketing To Children[13]

The ASB also administers the Voluntary Code of Practice for Motor Vehicle Advertising for the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.[14]

The ASB collects complaints for the Alcoholic Beverages Advertising Code Scheme’s Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code,[15] however adjudication under this Code is made by the ABAC Adjudication Panel.[16]

Complaints process[edit]

Members of the public can make complaints about any advertising in writing to the ASB, either through their website, by fax or post.[17]

Once a complaint is received the ASB will assess the complaint and if it falls under the scope of the Codes and Initiatives[4] the complaint will be forwarded to the Advertising Standards Board (the Board)[18] for assessment. Advertisers are also given a chance to provide a response to the Board.[19]

The Board is made up of 20 members of the community who have no connection to the advertising industry or interest groups. The Board includes people from a broad range of age groups and backgrounds and is gender balanced.[18]

The Board meets twice a month to consider complaints.The Board will consider the complaint/s, the advertisement and the advertiser’s response and make a determination based on whether the advertisement breaches any of the provisions under the Codes and Initiatives.[20]

If a complaint against any advertisement is upheld the advertiser is asked to remove or amend the offending advertisement as soon as possible.[21]

Copies of all determinations made by the Board are published on the ASB website.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "About us". Advertising Standards Bureau. Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  2. ^ "Levy questions and answers". Advertising Standards Bureau. 2015-07-09. Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  3. ^ Irk, Eeek, Oh! & Really? 40 years: self-regulation meeting community standards in advertising. Turner, ACT, Australia: Advertising Standards Bueau. 2015. p. 16 – via 
  4. ^ a b "Codes and Initiatives". Advertising Standards Bureau. 2015-05-08. Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  5. ^ "International links". Advertising Standards Bureau. 2015-05-08. Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  6. ^ "Best Practice Recommendations | EASA". Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  7. ^ "Viewers got extremely upset about these cheeky ads". NewsComAu. Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  8. ^ "Australia's first ever complaint about an ad: 40 years of advertising self-regulation". Smart Company. Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  9. ^ "Aus Day Ad The Most Complained About Ever, B&T Takes Walk Down Ad Grievance Lane - B&T". B&T. 2016-01-15. Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  10. ^ "Is there any point to the Advertising Standards Bureau? - Mumbrella". Mumbrella. 2013-10-30. Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  11. ^ "What is an advertising or marketing communication?". Advertising Standards Bureau. 2015-10-19. Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  12. ^ "Codes - AANA". AANA. Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  13. ^ "Advertising to Children » Australian Food & Grocery Council". Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  14. ^ "Voluntary Code of Practice for Motor Vehicle Advertising". 2007-10-01. Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  15. ^ "The Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code Scheme | The Code". Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  16. ^ "The Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code Scheme | About the ABAC Scheme". Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  17. ^ "Making a complaint". Advertising Standards Bureau. 2015-04-21. Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  18. ^ a b "Advertising Standards Board". Advertising Standards Bureau. 2015-04-15. Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  19. ^ "Responding to complaints". Advertising Standards Bureau. 2015-05-15. Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  20. ^ "Board meetings". Advertising Standards Bureau. 2015-05-15. Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  21. ^ "Notification of the outcome". Advertising Standards Bureau. 2015-05-15. Retrieved 2016-11-18. 
  22. ^ "Standards Board cases". Advertising Standards Bureau. Retrieved 2016-11-18. 

External links[edit]