2013 - The year that was

9:59 AM, 4 December 2013

No one would pretend that the impost of advertising regulation matches the threat of atomic doom; nonetheless the symbolism is equally useful. Are we moving closer toward a more regulated advertising environment? Evidence both locally and internationally would suggest that within the last year we have ticked a little closer to midnight.Why so?

Internationally, we have seen a gradual shift towards regulation in a number of countries, despite the weight of evidence that such moves are ineffective as public health tools. Locally, we have seen policy statements from opposition parties to restrict, or ban entirely advertising and sponsorship across a myriad of categories including food and drink, alcohol and direct-to-consumer advertising of medicines. In an election year we can expect more demand for regulation from advocates. Our challenge will be to continue to demonstrate the effectiveness of self-regulation.

Yes, ANZA supports the principle that advertising should not be uncontrolled and must be responsible, but calls for legislation ignore the reality that many categories are already heavily regulated and where not, we have in place comprehensive, effective and highly responsible self-regulation. Be it content, target audiences, day part, claims, or comparisons, all these and much more are either covered by legislation or (in our enviable NZ self-regulatory system,) are rigorously self-policed. If something does slip through the net its jumped on quickly, far more quickly than any judicial process could do to the general approval of the industry.

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