Upholding whose values? Australia’s advertising standards bodies, 1974-2009

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Journal Article
Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, 2012, 4 (2), pp. 273 - 289
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© 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited Purpose - This paper seeks to develop a clearer understanding of the operations and decisions made by Australian advertising standards bodies, the Advertising Standards Council and its successor, the Advertising Standards Board. It also seeks to identify whose interests have been served by these advertising standards organisations - those of the public or those of the advertising industry. Design/methodology/approach - Using annual reports and reports in mainstream press outlets, this paper compares the two advertising standards bodies, their respective organisational structures, and their decisions, in order to identify the key issues that have confronted Australia’s advertising regulation bodies. Findings - In addition to demonstrating the fundamental similarities between the Advertising Standards Council and the Advertising Standards Board, this paper raises serious questions about self-regulation and the way that it serves the advertising industry’s interests ahead of the public interest. Originality/value - This is the first long-term comparative survey of the operations, activities and decisions of the Advertising Standards Council and the Advertising Standards Board that also reveals the fundamental shortcomings of the current advertising standards codes.
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