An advertiser’s response is a critical part of the information (and ultimately the case documents) considered by the Board. It is essential that advertisers provide a detailed response that addresses all sections of the relevant Codes and Initiatives not just those sections which relate to the issues raised by the complaint.
During its deliberation of cases, the Board considers each section of the Code of Ethics as well as sections of any other relevant Code or Initiative, making it essential for advertisers to provide a statement about why the advertisement complies with all sections of the relevant Codes or Initiatives. To ensure an advertiser is called on only once to respond to complaints about their advertisement, all sections are considered in one sitting to cover possible future issues raised by complainants. The ASB also requires other general information including:
- a description of the advertisement (in non-emotive/non creative terms that would enable an independent person to identify the particular advertisement)
- a copy of the script (if relevant - but mandatory for radio ads)
- the CAD approval rating and CAD reference number if a TV ad
- a copy of digital media file(s) of the advertisement, and
- a copy of any other relevant information.
More specifically, if a complaint is about an advertisement for a food or beverage product, an advertiser will need to provide the following additional information.
- A statement about whether the advertisement is directed to children or not.
- A statement about whether the advertised product is a product primarily directed to children.
- Details of the media schedule and whether or not the advertisement is placed in programming that has a predominant child audience or is in a program directed to children.
- Substantiation of any nutritional claims made in the advertisement.
Information provided in response to complaints is included in case reports and these are made public. Advertisers should ensure they clearly identify any information which is confidential, commercial information that they do not wish to be made public.
In addition to the specific response to the complaint, the Advertising Standards Bureau also requires information to assist in the overall management and administration of the complaint administration component of the self-regulatory system.
Information required is the advertiser’s:
- contact person for advertising complaints
- creative agency used for the advertisement
- media buyer.