The new AANA advertising Code of Ethics.

11 February 2021 | Reading time: 2 minutes

Key takeaways.

On 1 February 2021, the new advertising Code of Ethics (Code), adopted by the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA), came into effect.

The AANA has published an accompanying Practice Note in order to assist advertisers to comply with the new Code.

The new Code, together with the Practice Note, introduce several changes, including:

  • a requirement for influencers to clearly disclose commercial relationships; and
  • other obligations that aim to reduce the occurrence of harmful advertising.

Businesses are encouraged to familiarise themselves with, and implement, these changes in order to meet industry standards for advertising and reduce the risk of receiving complaints.

Quick recap.

What is the Code?

The Code is a self-regulation tool developed by the AANA that sets out the overarching objectives that advertisers should adhere to when preparing advertising materials. The Code is supplemented by several other AANA codes.

What advertising does the Code apply to?

The Code applies broadly to any advertising, marketing communication or material published via any medium whatsoever. There are only limited exclusions, including product labels or packaging and corporate reports.

Why comply with the Code?

Businesses are encouraged to comply with the Code to ensure that their advertising and marketing meets industry standards and generally aligns with community values. Businesses that fail to comply with the Code may:

  • be required to respond to complaints by consumers and/or businesses; and
  • face reputational damage.

Overview of key changes.

Topic Position under new Code and Practice Note
Disclosing commercial relationships Influencers are required to disclose commercial relationships unambiguously in posts.
Avoidance of harm Advertisers are under a general requirement to avoid harm to consumers and society.
Gender stereotypes Advertising should not use harmful gender stereotypes.
Placement of advertising that uses sexual images Overtly sexual imagery should not be used in advertising that will appear outdoors or in shop front windows or where the imagery is not relevant to the product or service being advertised.
Violent content Additional restrictions regarding advertising containing violent or menacing content apply in order to protect child audiences.
Focus on body parts Advertising should not focus on certain body parts where not relevant to the product or service being advertised.

Need advice?

The Bespoke team can assist you with meeting your advertising responsibilities. This includes complying with the Australian Consumer Law and considering the requirements of the AANA codes and guidelines and other relevant codes.