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6 April 2024

AANA defends the use of targeted marketing on behalf of the advertising industry

The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) has defended the use of targeted advertising in its submission on the Australian Government’s response to the Privacy Review,

highlighting concerns over the potential wide-sweeping impact it will have on the advertising industry.

The proposals contained in the Government’s response that restrict targeted marketing, especially to children, may have the unintended consequence of putting potentially harmful ads in front of children and vulnerable groups. Without targeted marketing, advertising for categories such as alcohol, gambling, credit cards and occasional food or drinks may be viewed and cause harm to inappropriate audiences.

AANA considers that using data to target advertising to exclude children and vulnerable groups from seeing inappropriate advertising is both fair and reasonable, and in the best interests of Australians. The new rules proposed by the Government eliminate the use of targeting tools. This change will have a significant impact on the advertising industry and the Australian economy.

The AANA is the trusted custodian of Australia’s world-class advertising self-regulatory system that ensures that advertising meets community expectations. Within that framework, advertisers rely on online targeting tools to ensure that certain groups are excluded from seeing inappropriate advertising.

Megan McEwin, Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs at AANA explains; ‘While we agree with many aspects of the proposals contained in the Government’s response, the big concern for the industry is the potential unintended consequences of proposals to restrict targeted marketing. Removing this tool will undermine responsible advertising efforts and potentially result in children and vulnerable groups being exposed to inappropriate advertising. The Privacy by Default proposal may also deprive advertising platforms of the relevant data necessary to exclude certain groups from seeing inappropriate advertising.’

The AANA is also concerned about the proposal to effectively ban behavioural or relevant advertising.

Josh Faulks, CEO of AANA, stated that; ‘Effectively banning behavioural or relevant advertising would not be a good result for advertisers or consumers. Many consumers welcome being served relevant advertising as they consume content. They understand that advertising is necessary to fund so much of the content – including sport and journalism, and services – such as Google Maps, that we enjoy every single day. We believe that a balanced approach is necessary to protect privacy, while also enabling responsible advertising to continue. The question needs to be asked, what harm does relevant advertising cause to the consumer?

To inform its submission to the Government’s response, the AANA engaged in extensive consultation with advertisers, agencies and media platforms, as well as other industry associations, to collaborate and show leadership on this important issue.

Nicolette Briscoe
0416 096 733