AANA revises definition of advertising

23 October 2015
Sunita Gloster

With responsible advertising high on the agenda, the AANA has evolved the definition of advertising and marketing communication.

The revised definition, which will be implemented across all AANA codes from 2016, will include relevant direct-to-consumer public relations materials.

While material such as social media promotion, blogging and tweeting on behalf of a brand can be captured by the codes, brand owners won't be responsible for editorial content in traditional or social media which they did not produce and/or over which they cannot exercise control.

AANA CEO Sunita Gloster said the move went beyond self-regulation.

“Responsible advertisers are already taking the initiative and reviewing their consumer public relations communications against the AANA codes, as it forms part of their advertising mix. This evolution aligns the AANA codes with international standards and current practice amongst brand owners,” Gloster said.

According to AANA director of policy and regulatory affairs, Simone Brandon, the evolution ensures the codes reflect changes in communication.

“As new platforms for marketing communication are explored, more questions are raised about best practice and the application of the codes to consumer-facing PR materials. The AANA codes ensure industry continues to take responsibility for all communications across all platforms,” she said.

The public relations industry welcomed AANA's announcement. Public Relations Institute of Australia outgoing national president Mike Watson reflected on changes in PR practice.

“In addition to specialist communication with traditional publics such as media, regulators, employees, investors, and so on, this evolution of AANA codes reflects reality in that PR practitioners are now communicating directly with consumers more than ever before,” Watson said.

Public Relations Council chair, Mel Cullen, said the move made the complaints procedure for members of the public more transparent.

“The AANA codes ensure that when a member of the public has a complaint about marketing communication that is targeted at them, they can make a complaint to the Advertising Standards Bureau, irrespective of whether the material was produced by a public relations, marketing or advertising executive.”

Since releasing its Code of Ethics in 1997, AANA has introduced new codes and amended existing codes to keep up with industry changes.

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