Ad Standards is Australia’s advertising regulator.
We give a voice to community concerns about the content of ads and promote responsible advertising.
We have been independently handling complaints under the advertising industry codes for over 25 years.
Ad content in Australia is regulated through a system of self-regulation. This means that the ad industry, through the Australian Association of National Advertisers, writes the rules that advertisers must follow.
To maintain the integrity of the system, Ad Standards was established to handle complaints and provide secretariat support to the Ad Standards Community Panel, an independent group of people entrusted with adjudicating complaints and making decisions about ads.
We also offer a competitor complaint handling service available to businesses wishing to make a complaint about a competitor.
Annual reports on the operations of Ad Standards are available in the Review of Operations.
Ad Standards has a small number of dedicated staff who support key business functions including case management, Community Panel secretariat, legal, policy, administration and communications.
Executive Director, Richard Bean
Richard Bean is the Executive Director of Ad Standards. Richard has held senior roles in both the private and public sectors including at the Australian Communications and Media Authority, Unwired Group Limited, Network Ten, and national commercial law firm Blake Dawson Waldron (now Ashurst).
Richard holds a BA (Hons) from the University of Sydney and a law degree from the University of New South Wales.
A Board of Directors governs both Ad Standards and the AANA.
The Board places the highest priority on preserving the integrity of the advertising self-regulatory system and the independence of Ad Standards’ complaints handling function. It insists on absolute separation between its work and the work of the Ad Standards Community Panel and the Ad Standards Industry Jury.
Ad Standards receives no government funding.
Australian advertisers support the self-regulatory system and Ad Standards by agreeing to a small levy being applied to their advertising spend.
The levy is set at 0.05% ($500 per $1 million) and is collected mainly through media buying agencies.
All levy monies are applied to the maintenance of the self-regulatory system and are used to finance activities including:
- recruitment of Ad Standards Community Panel members and attendance of Community Panel members at meetings
- research to assist with understanding community attitudes, values and standards
- activities to enhance industry’s knowledge of, and compliance with, the advertising codes
- activities to enhance community awareness of Ad Standards
- the AANA’s code writing and revision work
- general administration and operation of Ad Standards and the self-regulation system.
Payment of the levy by advertisers is critical to ensure that we can continue to deliver a world-class system of advertising self-regulation.
Whether or not an advertiser pays the levy does not affect our investigations or Community Panel decisions.
Please contact the Australian Association of National Advertisers for information on how to pay the levy and support the advertising self-regulatory system.