Political correctness under review by advertising bodies

The ground rules for advertisers may soon be changing as key industry bodies take a closer look at Australia’s advertising standards.
Last week, the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) announced a comprehensive review of the content of its Code of Ethics, the first such review for over a decade.  The Code of Ethics
outline the standards by which advertisements are judged by in Australia and it is used by the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) to determine complaints made against advertisements.  According to the Chief Executive Officer of AANA, Scott McClellan, the review is intended to be “broad and comprehensive” and will not be limited to the current content of the Code with new elements to be considered where necessary.  An independent expert will conduct the review with assistance by the AANA secretariat.  It will also include an open public consultation process, which is anticipated to commence with the publication of a discussion paper in July 2010.  We’lll let you know as soon as it is available.  It is anticipated that a final report and recommendations for a revised Code of Ethics will be submitted to the AANA Board by December.
At the same time, the ASB is also looking at whether their approach to sex and nudity in advertising is out of step with community views.  It will soon publish research on community views of sex and nudity in advertising, both of which dominated complaints about advertising over the past year.  The research took a sample of 1200 people from across Australia, who were shown 15 ads and asked to explain their responses.  The ASB says it will use the findings to direct its decisions on complaints about ads, particularly if most people voted differently to the how the board would have.  The research will take particular note of the portrayal of children and women.

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