encourages the advertising industry (advertisers, agencies and media) to take
responsibility to ensure advertising communications to consumers is legal,
decent and honest and prepared with a sense of social responsibility to
the consumer and society as a whole, and with due respect to the rules of fair
There are a number
of incentives for doing so. Most advertisers do not want to deliberately
mislead or offend current or potential customers. They understand the
importance of responsible advertising of restricted products and engage with
pre-vetting processes and code-compliance prior to the release / publication of
advertising. If consumers trust advertising, it is more effective.
in New Zealand is regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) by way of its Advertising Codes of Practice and its complaints process, working
within the legal framework provided by a number of Acts and Regulations that
restrict advertising. A number of government agencies that administer
legislation are therefore senior jurisdictions of the ASA.
also works best alongside a legislative framework. The two complement
each other, to produce a result which neither could achieve on its own. The law
lays down broad principles, e.g. that advertising should not be misleading,
while self-regulatory codes, because of their greater flexibility and the fact
that they are interpreted in spirit as well as the letter, can deal quickly and
efficiently with the detail of individual advertisements. In New Zealand there are about 50 different pieces
of legislation that restrict advertising in some way.
Self-regulation works for the public by avoiding the complexities
and delays of a judicial process. Self-regulation offers consumers a quick,
uncomplicated, easily-accessible method which, because it is funded by the
advertising industry, is a no-cost means of having their complaints handled.
It can apply immediate sanctions by publishing Complaints
Board decisions and by requiring media to immediately withdraw any
advertisement for which a complaint has been upheld by the Complaints Board.
With an average time of dealing with complaints of around 13 days, the ASA’s
complaints process is substantially quicker than usual judicial process.
Self-regulation is also flexible enough to adapt promptly to changing
societal views as well as new advertising media.
Association of New Zealand Advertisers Inc
PO Box 33 385, Takapuna, Auckland 0622
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