With Christmas fast approaching, the New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have come up with a few top tips to help brands advertise responsibly this festive season.
- Consider your audience to manage likelihood of offence
Many complaints received by the ASA about offensive advertising around Christmas relate to the use of religious beliefs or traditions for commercial purposes. Christmas is a time that holds religious significance for some families and Rule 1(c) of the Advertising Standards Code states that Advertisements must not contain anything that is indecent, or exploitative, or degrading, or likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence, or give rise to hostility, contempt, abuse or ridicule.
Light hearted advertisements which play on humour or satire may be found acceptable, however advertisers should take care at this time of year, and ensure these advertisements balance humour and target audience to minimise offence.
- Be up front with price and delivery claims
With many consumers shopping for last-minute gifts online, advertisers must take care when making delivery claims in their ads. Brands are responsible for ensuring their delivery estimates are achievable, especially when consumers are likely anticipating delivery of their purchases prior to Christmas.
Advertisers should also take care to ensure any discounts and price claims are substantiated and unlikely to mislead consumers.
- Understand which products require extra care
Advertisers should take extra care when advertising products covered by the Children and Young People’s Advertising Code. It is important to ensure advertisements do not encourage children or young people to urge their caregivers to purchase products for them, or condone peer pressure by implying inferiority for not having the advertised product.
Brands must also ensure alcohol advertisements meet the requirements of the Alcohol Advertising and Promotion Code which states that ads must not suggest that alcohol will improve or enhance a social occasion. Brands utilising social media Influencers should be mindful that these posts are also covered by this Code, including ensuring minors are not included in the advertisements and the influencers themselves are over the age of 25.
- Know the rules
The weeks before Christmas are a busy time of year, but that’s no excuse for failing to comply with the Advertising Standards. A great place to start before posting your ad is to check through our recently released Quick Guides to help avoid any common mistakes:
More information on the Advertising Standards Code and five sector Codes is available here.
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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