Ad Standards turns 25

Ad Standards is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, highlighting our longstanding role in promoting responsible advertising and giving a voice to community concerns about advertising content.  

Ad Standards was established by the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) to independently administer the advertising industry codes and to handle community complaints.

We started taking complaints in January 1998 – six years before the launch of Facebook, and when just over 10 per cent of households had internet access. At that time, the organisation was known as the Advertising Standards Board which comprised 12 members including renowned author Thomas Keneally, cricketer Geoff Lawson, journalist Mary Kostakidis and film critic Margaret Pomeranz.

Today, the Board has become the 25-member Ad Standards Community Panel – everyday Australians independent of the Advertising industry. They are not household names, but community representatives reflecting the diversity of Australian society and a critical component of Australia’s fair and transparent advertising self-regulatory system.

The other critical component of the system is the advertising industry. This includes Australian advertisers who have supported Australia’s self-regulatory system through both payment of the advertising levy that funds the system and compliance with the rules – along with advertising agencies, media buying agencies and Australia’s advertising industry bodies.

Australia’s advertising and media landscape has evolved significantly since 1998 with the rapid rise in digital advertising while community values and standards are constantly shifting. Ad Standards together with the AANA has responded to these challenges to advance Australia’s world-class, platform neutral self-regulation system – ensuring that it continues to meet the needs of industry and the community.

In the past 25 years, we have handled close to 100,000 complaints and made decisions about over 10,000 ads and achieved close to 100 per cent compliance by industry with Ad Standards Community Panel decisions.

While it’s difficult to predict what the next 25 years will bring, we remain committed to giving a voice to the community and to guiding industry in making responsible ads.

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