The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) has announced a revised definition of advertising and marketing communication to include relevant direct-to-consumer public relations materials.
“Responsible advertisers are already taking the initiative and reviewing their consumer public relations communications against the AANA Codes, as it forms part of their advertising mix. This evolution aligns the AANA Codes with international standards and current practice amongst brand owner,.” said Sunita Gloster, CEO of the AANA.
In evolving the definition, material such as social media promotion, blogging and tweeting on behalf of a brand is captured by the Codes. However, brand owners will not be responsible for editorial content in traditional or social media which they did not produce and/or over which they cannot exercise control.
“As new platforms for marketing communication are explored, more questions are raised about best practice and the application of the Codes to consumer-facing PR materials. The AANA Codes ensure industry continues to take responsibility for all communications across all platforms,” added Simone Brandon, director of policy and regulatory affairs at the AANA.
The ANNA’s announcement was welcomed by the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA), with outgoing National President, Mike Watson, saying that it reflected and respected transformations in contemporary professional communication operating environments. “In addition to specialist communication with traditional publics, such as media, regulators, employees, investors, and so on, this evolution of AANA Codes reflects reality in that PR practitioners are now communicating directly with consumers more than ever before,” he said.
Mel Cullen, chair of the Public Relations Council, also approved of the approach, saying it provides members of the public with a clearer complaints procedure. “The AANA Codes ensure that when a member of the public has a complaint about marketing communication that is targeted at them, they can make a complaint to the Advertising Standards Bureau, irrespective of whether the material was produced by a public relations, marketing or advertising executive.”
The revised definition in the Codes will come into effect in 2016 and will apply to all AANA Codes and future codes, ensuring continued consumer confidence in advertising as consumers are able to make any complaints to the Australian Standards Bureau as part of the current system of advertising self- regulation.