Research shows Board views align with community standards

Decisions made by the Advertising Standards Board (the Board) over the last 10 years have largely been in line with community standards according to a new report from the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB).

An overview of research, which was conducted by Colmar Brunton Social Research, was published today and highlights community concerns around advertising, perceptions of acceptability and alignment of Board decisions.

“Colmar Brunton have been conducting regular research into community perceptions of advertising for us, and for the first time we’ve been able to take a look at trend data over the past decade,” ASB, Chief Executive Officer, Ms Fiona Jolly said.

The research shows that 78% of the time Board decisions have either aligned or not been inconsistent with a majority community opinion (with the community view directly aligning with the Board view 51% of the time, and the community view being mixed 27% of the time).  Although approximately one in five decisions by the Board (22%) have been at odds with community opinion – the Board was more strict than the community would have been 9% of the time.

“Where views of the community and the Board did not align, the research demonstrated that Board decisions were more conservative than community opinion in relation to discrimination and health and safety issues, and community opinion was more conservative in relation to sex, sexuality and nudity and language issues in advertising,” Ms Jolly said.

She said that the research is used to inform the Board of community opinion and will be used in future decision making.

The research also examines trends in advertising complaints and highlights that although the level of concern about advertising is still low (19% of respondents had recently been exposed to unacceptable advertising), the likelihood of people to complain to ASB where they have a concern has increased significantly (31% in 2009, 51% in 2017). The research also highlighted an increase in the perceived importance of the ASB (33% ‘extremely important’ in 2006 vs 42% ‘extremely important’ in 2017).

The community opinion since 2007 has been continued agreement with the different sections of the AANA Code of Ethics (from 77% to 83% agreement for each section of the Code).

An overview of the research is available today and the full report will be available next month.