Advertising Must Be Clearly Distinguishable To Consumers, Says The AANA

Advertising Must Be Clearly Distinguishable To Consumers, Says The AANA

The AANA today confirmed that the over-arching AANA Code of Ethics, will evolve to contain an explicit requirement that advertising and marketing communication must be clearly distinguishable as such to the relevant audience.

This new requirement will allow the Advertising Standards Board to adjudicate on complaints from the public that marketing content which appears to be editorial is in fact advertising.

The move follows previous guidance by the AANA on identifiable advertising, launching Native Advertising Principles in partnership with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), in 2015.

These principles aim to ensure that the typical consumer is able to distinguish between marketing communication and editorial online. The AANA’s Chair, Matt Tapper said the latest move is further evidence of advertisers’ commitment to be transparent and afford the community an avenue to complain in the event that they believe advertising has been masquerading as editorial.

“We drew on the input of Australia’s major brand owners across a wide range of product and service categories. Our Board is unanimous that a key principle of responsible advertising is that the commercial nature of the communication must be transparent and that brand owners should be accountable to the community for this via the Advertising Standards Board,” Tapper said.

The AANA’s move brings the Code into alignment with similar requirements in overseas jurisdictions, such as the UK, New Zealand and the International Chamber of Commerce’s code for marketing communication.

The AANA Code of Ethics will contain the explicit provision that “advertising or marketing communication shall be clearly distinguishable as such to the relevant audience”. The relevant audience refers to the intended target audience so if, for example, an advertisement is targeted at children it should be clear to a typical child that the communication is advertising.

The AANA said it also consulted widely with other relevant industry groups and that the rationale for an explicit clause on identifiable advertising was understood.

“For the vast majority of advertisers, this change will not impact their modus operandi. The reality is that most already ensure that their commercial communication is distinguishable as such. However, with the rise of native advertising in all forms of media it is timely that we make explicit our commitment to ensure consumers are aware of when they’re seeing or listening to an advertisement,” the AANA’s CEO, Sunita Gloster, said.

The AANA has released a Best Practice Guideline to help advertisers comply with the new clause which comes into effect on 1 March 2017.

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