As we increasingly look at the AANA’s role in a global context, it is the AANA’s responsibility to proactively evolve its Codes to align with developments in marketing communication techniques so that we continue to meet community expectations. We also wish to avoid unnecessary regulatory involvement or operational cost to industry.
The AANA Codes are designed to cover advertising and most other forms of marketing communication in any medium over which the brand owner has reasonable control. The AANA will remove the current exclusion for consumer public relations communication to align with current marketing practice and maintain the key definitional requirements of ‘reasonable control’ and ‘intent to promote’ as the determinative factors. Making the change in this way will avoid brand owners being responsible for editorial content in traditional or social media which they did not produce and/or over which they cannot exercise control. The exclusion for corporate public relations material will remain unchanged.
A review of the exclusion allows industry to promote a proactive self-regulatory improvement with little practical burden, whilst providing guidance to the ASB on what material is beyond the reasonable control of the advertiser and should genuinely be excluded from complaint review.
The proposed change is supported by the AANA Public & Regulatory Affairs Committee and the AANA Board. It will be formally approved at the next Board meeting on 14 October.
Marketing material for use in the media or by the media can be presented in a variety of formats, including video, infographics, question and answer articles, photos, audio or online.
The approach of the AANA Codes is to assess the material against two key criteria:
Both factors need to be present for the material to be considered advertising by the brand owner. Material may originate to provide information to stakeholder groups such as media, investors or government and not be covered by the Codes. However once it is targeted directly at consumers or the public in a way that is calculated to promote a service or product and in circumstances where the brand owner retains reasonable control over the material, then the Codes would apply.
The following are excluded from the definition of advertising and marketing communications:
The Code of Ethics Practice Note provides a guide to interpretation to assist brand owners, their agencies, the ASB and the community in understanding the AANA’s intent in relation to the Code. The Practice Note will detail the applicable exclusions, including:
Consumer public relations material, as distinct from corporate reports, that is reproduced as public facing content (e.g. a press release posted on a brand’s consumer facing website) would be covered by the Codes because the brand owner has retained a reasonable degree of control over the material and it was used in a manner intended to directly promote a product or service. Note this inclusion does not apply to material published for other purposes, such as investor relations or regulatory affairs.
If you have any questions please contact the AANA Self-Regulatory team:
Director of Policy & Regulatory Affairs
Regulatory Affairs Manager