What we cover

We handle complaints about ads that raise an issue under any of the advertising industry codes.

The rules cover issues like language, sexual appeal, nudity, violence, discrimination, health and safety, and advertising disclosure. There are also specific rules for advertising to children, food and beverage advertising, environmental claims and car ads. 

We accept complaints about all forms of advertising targeted to Australians where the advertiser has some degree of control. This includes:

  • tv and radio ads
  • print ads
  • social media and online ads
  • billboards and posters
  • cinema ads
  • claims on companies’ own websites
  • user-generated content where the advertiser has some degree of control
  • advertorials and sponsorship
  • commercial emails, direct mail, brochures and point of sale material
  • other marketing or public relations material.

What we don’t cover

The most common reasons we may not accept your complaint include:

  • the complaint is about an ad that has already been assessed by the Ad Standards Community Panel
  • the complaint is about an issue not covered by the advertising codes
  • the content is not an ad
  • the complaint is about a competitor, in which case you’ll need to lodge a competitor complaint
Ads already considered by the Community Panel

We do not accept complaints about ads that have already been considered by the Ad Standards Community Panel. Visit our case reports page to see previous Community Panel decisions.

Content that is not advertising

We don’t accept complaints about ads that do not meet the definition of advertising as outlined in the AANA Code of Ethics. This means we don’t accept complaints about:

  • product packaging or labels
  • corporate reports, media releases or statements
  • user-generated content where the advertiser has no degree of control
  • ads for tv/radio programs on the same channel or station.

Issues not covered by the advertising industry codes

Truth and accuracy

We only consider matters involving truth and accuracy in relation to advertising and marketing to childrenfood and beverages advertising, and environmental claims in advertising.

We do not assess truth and accuracy in advertising or conduct which may be misleading or deceptive for any other products and services. 

Complaints about misleading or deceptive advertising for products and services that are not covered by the advertising industry codes may be directed to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) or your State or Territory consumer protection agency.

Political and election advertising

We do not accept complaints about political or election advertising. Other organisations that may be able to assist include:

The timing or frequency of gambling advertising

There are strict rules in place for gambling ads that appear on TV, radio or online. Find out what is and is not allowed, and how to complain, on the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) website.

Therapeutic goods

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulates ads for therapeutic goods. All advertising of therapeutic goods is subject to the requirements of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (the Act) and the Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990 (the Regulations). Visit the TGA website to find out more.

You can make a complaint to Ad Standards about the content of a therapeutic goods ad when there is an issue that falls within the advertising codes (e.g. the ad features violence, offensive language, nudity etc).

Editorial or program content

To complain about editorial or program content we recommend that you directly contact the station, broadcaster or publisher directly.

More information about broadcast complaints is available on the Australian Communication and Media Authority website.

Loudness and frequency of advertising

If your complaint is about the loudness or frequency of ads you should contact the station or broadcaster directly.

Problems with products and services

If there’s an issue with a product or service you’ve purchased, visit the ACCC website to find out what your rights are and what steps to take.

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