Children’s Advertising Code
This Code has been adopted by the AANA as part of advertising and marketing self-regulation. The object of this Code is to ensure that advertisers and marketers maintain a high sense of social responsibility when advertising and marketing to children in Australia.
This Code is accompanied by a Practice Note which has been developed by the AANA.
The Practice Note provides guidance to advertisers and complainants, and must be applied by the Ad Standards Community Panel in making its determinations. In the event of any ambiguity the provisions of the Code prevail.
Section 1: Definitions
In this Code, unless the context otherwise requires:
a). any advertising, marketing communication or material which is published or broadcast using any Medium or any activity which is undertaken by, or on behalf of an advertiser or marketer,
- over which the advertiser or marketer has a reasonable degree of control, and
- that draws the attention of the public in a manner calculated to promote or oppose directly or indirectly a product, service, person, organisation or line of conduct,
b). but does not include:
- labels or packaging for products
- corporate reports including corporate public affairs messages in press releases and other media statements, annual reports, statements on matters of public policy
- in the case of broadcast media, any material which promotes a program or programs to be broadcast on that same channel, station or network.
Advertising to Children means:
Advertising that targets Children and which is determined by the context of the advertisement and the following three criteria:
- Nature and intended purpose of the product being promoted is principally or significantly appealing to Children;
- Presentation of the advertisement content (e.g. theme, images, colours, wording, music and language used) is principally appealing to Children;
- Expected average audience at the time or place the advertisement appears includes a significant proportion of Children.
Community Panel means the Panel appointed by Ad Standards from time to time, the members of which are representative of the community, to administer a public complaints system in relation to Advertising.
Children means persons under the age of 15 and Child means a person under the age of 15.
Medium means any medium whatsoever including without limitation cinema, internet, outdoor media, print, radio, telecommunications, television or other direct-to-consumer media including new and emerging technologies.
Advertising to Children
All three criteria will be considered by the Community Panel in determining whether or not
advertising targets Children. The weighting given by the Community Panel to each of the three criteria will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
In the event of a complaint being considered by the Community Panel, the advertiser should be in a position to provide details in terms of the nature and intended purpose of the product, the presentation of the advertisement content and the expected average audience at the time or place the advertisement appears.
In relation to the third criteria, measures to determine if Children are likely to be a ‘significant proportion’ of the expected average audience may include one or a combination of the following:
- Where data exists, 25% or more of the predicted audience will be Children.
In relation to outdoor advertising, if across a campaign the data shows a predicted
audience with less than 25% Children, and there is a Children’s event or concert that is
incidental to the ad placement, the audience of that incidental Children’s concert or event
will not be captured.
- C&P programs.
- Programs, artists, playlists, video, movies, magazines or other content with significant
appeal to Children (e.g. featuring personalities or characters popular with Children).
- Compliance with the Outdoor Media Association Placement Policy and Health & Wellbeing Policy which regulate the placement of advertising at primary and secondary schools which are locations where Children regularly and predictably gather.
Where accurate program audience data is not available, the Community Panel may have regard to other factors listed above such as the program content, the time or the location where the advertisement is being shown (in line with the above provision).
Section 2: Children’s Advertising Code
2.1 Advertising to Children must not contravene Prevailing Community Standards.
Advertising to Children must not contravene prevailing community standards, including by promoting products or services unsuitable or hazardous to children or encouraging unsafe practices. Advertising to Children that encourages bullying or promotes unhealthy ideal body image may also breach this rule.
2.2 Advertising to Children must not be misleading or deceptive to Children.
Advertising to Children must accurately represent, in a manner that is
clearly understood by Children:
• the advertised product or service,
• any features (including the size and performance of the product) which are
described, depicted or demonstrated in the Advertising,
• the price,
• the need for and the price of any accessory parts, and
• that the Advertising is in fact a commercial communication rather than program
content, editorial comment or other non-commercial communication.
Any disclaimers, qualifiers or asterisked or footnoted information used in Advertising
to Children must be conspicuously displayed and clearly explained to Children.
Prices must not be minimised by words such as “only” or “just”.
Where Advertising to Children includes a competition, the rules must be clear and
both the value of prizes and the chances of winning must not be exaggerated.
Nothing in section 2.2 is intended to prevent or restrict the simple presentation
of intellectual property or trademark statements.
2.3 Advertising to Children:
(a) must not employ sexual appeal;
(b) must not include sexual imagery; and
(c) must not state or imply that Children are sexual beings and that ownership or enjoyment of a Product will enhance their sexuality.
Advertising to Children portraying sexualised clothing or poses would breach this rule. Advertising of underwear or swimwear products for children will not necessarily breach this section, however care should be taken when posing children in underwear or swimwear to ensure that the models’ poses are natural and not sexualised.
2.4 Advertising to Children must not portray unreasonably
frightening or distressing images or events.
Depictions of Halloween toys or images of Halloween characters would not of themselves breach this rule.
Leeway will be given to advertisements containing a community service message, for example on road safety, anti-bullying or other legitimate health or safety messages for children.
2.5 Advertising to Children must not portray unreasonably frightening or distressing images or events.
(a). must not undermine the authority, responsibility or judgment of parents or carers;
(b). must not contain an appeal to Children to urge their parents, carers or another person to buy the advertised product or service for them;
(c). must not state or imply that the advertised product or service makes Children who own or enjoy it superior to their peers; and
(d). must not state or imply that persons who buy the advertised product or service are more generous than those who do not.
Explicit calls to action to urge children to ask parents or carers to buy a product or service would breach this rule. Advertising to Children must not imply that the product or service being promoted is immediately within the reach of every family budget.
2.6 Advertising to Children which features a Premium must not encourage the purchase of an excessive quantity or irresponsible consumption.
Advertising for collection-based premiums must not seem to urge children or their parents to buy excessive quantities of food.
For the avoidance of doubt, there shall be no Advertising to Children of occasional food and beverage products. Only food or beverages which meet the FSANZ Nutrient Profile Score Criterion may be advertised to children.
2.7 Advertising to Children which uses popular personalities or celebrities (live or animated) to endorse, recommend, promote or advertise or market products, services or Premiums must be clearly distinguishable as advertising.
Popular personalities include influencers and kidfluencers popular with children. Such Advertising must be clearly recognisable to children as advertising.
In relation to influencer or kidfluencer advertising to children, disclosure should be:
- within or directly next to the marketing communication;
- of significant size and colour to stand out; and
- readily apparent before (if possible) or immediately at the point of engagement.
This section does not form part of the AANA Children’s Advertising Code and is provided here for information only.
COMPLAINTS UNDER THE AANA SELF REGULATORY SYSTEM
Complaints about the content of an advertisement or marketing communication can be made under this Code and the other AANA Codes to Ad Standards.
You can make a complaint by:
- Lodging a complaint online at: http://www.adstandards.com.au
- Writing a letter (and sending via post) to:
PO BOX 5110
Once Ad Standards has received your complaint, it then assesses the complaint to determine whether it is eligible for consideration by the Ad Standards Community Panel. The Community Panel is the body established to consider complaints. If accepted the advertiser/marketer is notified and a response is requested. The complaint is then considered by the Board and the advertiser and complainant are advised of the determination. A case report is then published.
The original complainant or advertiser/marketer can also ask for a review of the determination.
 If your complaint is about a program (not an advertisement) on television or radio, please contact the relevant industry body