On receipt of a complaint Ad Standards assesses whether issues raised in the complaint about an advertisement may relate to any sections of the Codes or Initiatives. This initial assessment is usually made without access to the actual advertisement.

Complaint(s) that are within scope, about an advertisement that has not already been considered by the Ad Standards Community Panel will be raised as a case. Each case raised has at least one complaint associated with it. Each case is related to only one medium. If an advertisement has been subject to complaints following broadcast on several mediums, eg free-to-air television, Pay TV and cinema, a separate case is created for each medium.

The process then involves Ad Standards case managers making contact with advertisers (by phone or email) to confirm that the advertisement is from that particular advertiser (as identified by the complainant) and confirm up-to-date details of the appropriate contact person.

Once all details are confirmed, a letter of notification will be sent to the advertiser’s contact person. This includes a copy of the complaints received and identifies the initial assessment of the potential Code or Initiative breaches. This letter seeks a response from advertisers and requests a copy of the actual advertisement.

If further complaints are received during this period Ad Standards will forward these to the advertiser.