2000’s: advertising self-regulation through the decades

Dec 13th '23

The early 2000’s saw further development of ASA compliance and education programmes. The therapeutic and health sector is supported by the launch of the Therapeutic Advertising Pre-Vetting Service, established in 2000 and administered by the Association of New Zealand Advertisers (ANZA).


In 2001, we presented our first guest lectures to educate future marketers, producers and advertising creatives at the NZ Broadcasting School in Christchurch and Auckland University of Technology on the role of advertising self-regulation, along with seminars in Sydney and Melbourne to assist Australian advertisers to understand the NZ advertising rules.


By the mid 2000’s the ASA membership had grown to reach fourteen industry member organisations, including eleven media sectors. Executive Director Glen Wiggs, whose passion for the role of self-regulation in responsible advertising had been instrumental in establishing the ASA over the previous 14 years, resigned from the ASA with Hilary Souter appointed as his successor. In his final address in the 2004 annual report, Glen noted the exceptional industry support for the ASA:


“The Advertising Standards Complaints Board has always been tough but fair, and over the years about 50% of substantive complaints have been found to breach the Codes. Although industry may not always agree with the decisions, they have always accepted them. This is testament to the integrity of the industry, and they should be justly proud. People constantly ask me whether despite the 50% upheld rate, industry supports the ASA. My observation is that not only does industry support the ASA, but they are also very passionate in their support.” – Glen Wiggs, ASA Executive Director (1990-2005).


In November 2006, some consumers were surprised to find an unusual form of direct mail in their letterboxes. The Hell Pizza promotion of their Lust Pizza saw delivery of 170,000 Hell branded condoms direct into letterboxes of neighborhoods in close proximity to Hell stores. The campaign received 685 complaints and remains to date the most complained about advertisement. Complainants objected to the unrestricted delivery of condoms in letterboxes, and ultimately the complaints were Upheld, with the Complaints Board ruling the method of distribution did not reach the required standard of social responsibility, and went against generally prevailing community standards. This complaint contributed to another record, with the ASA recording 1557 complaints in 2006, a record that remains in place nearly twenty years later.


Rapidly evolving technology throughout the decade saw the distribution of complaints across media platforms change – where in 2003, only 0.4% of complaints were regarding interactive advertising (such as advertiser websites, email and online ads), by 2007 this had reached 5.8% of all complaints and in 2008, advertiser websites became the second largest media category for complaints.


This post is part of our advertising self-regulation through the decades series. Learn more about our history and read the rest of the series on our 50th anniversary page.


Source: ASA


About the New Zealand ASA

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is an organisation that investigates breaches of advertising standards in New Zealand. The ASA provides a free complaints process for consumers about the content and placement of advertisements. In assessing complaints, the ASA apply the ASA Advertising Codes.


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