ACCM: Advertising code of ethics fails to protect children September 17, 2019


ACCM: Advertising code of ethics fails to protect children 

Rules around advertising for violent and horrific films need to be tightened, ACCM says.

The Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) will urge the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA), in its review of its code of ethics, to tighten rules around the content of public advertising and trailers on television used to promote violent and horror movies.

An ACCM spokesperson says the organisation will be recommending a tightening of paragraph 2.3 of the code, which she says "appears to condone the use of violent images to advertise violent films".

The spokesperson says the potentially harmful advertising does not only appear on television in prime time and only on highly-prominent billboards, but bus stops, the back of buses and AFL on-field advertising.

Paragraph 2.3 of the code says advertising or marketing communication shall not present or portray violence unless it is justifiable in the context of the product or service being advertised.

"There also needs to be a new provision to prevent the use of scary images to promote horror films in public spaces where children have every right to be," the spokesperson says.

University of South Australia research fellow Dr Lesley-Anne Ey says posters such as those promoting horror film It: Chapter Two  would likely give children nightmares. 

"When children are exposed to an image that does not fit within their schemes of what they know, they tend to look more closely to try to make sense of the image. They then absorb more detail and the image becomes entrenched in their minds," Dr Ey says.

A review is done every seven years and consultation is open until October 18. The discussion paper is available here

The AANA says; "the objectives of the AANA Code of Ethics are to set standards ensure that advertisements and other forms of marketing communications are legal, decent, honest and truthful and that they have been prepared with a sense of obligation to the consumer and society and a sense of fairness and responsibility to competitors.".

In its discussion paper, the AANA says the review would ensure it "continues to "provide a robust framework for the self-regulation of advertising and marketing communication. The purpose of this discussion paper is to promote dialogue with all stakeholders and to stimulate informed input to the review. It is not intended to be prescriptive and any other matters raised will be given due consideration."

The discussion paper can also be found on the AANA website by clicking the top link called 'Knowledge'

For interview:

Prof Elizabeth Handsley  0448898 185

Dr Lesley-Anne Ey 0438 866 938