Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Jones, SC, Sexism is in the eye of the beholder: Does the Advertising Standards Board reflect "community standards"?, in Guersen G, Kennedy, R and Tolo, M (eds), Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference ANZMAC 2003, Adelaide, 1-3 December 2003.


This study examines the Advertising Standards Board’s response to complaints lodged against advertisements between 1999 and 2001 under sub-section 2.3 of the AANA Code (portrayal of sex/sexuality/nudity). Between 1999 and 2001, the ASB considered 419 complaints lodged by members of the general public under this subsection of the Code, of which only three were upheld. The decisions reported in the ASB’s Case Reports for these three years are examined by assessing three advertisements from each of these years (including the only one in each year against which a complaint was upheld). Inconsistencies in the application of this sub-section of the Code are revealed. Changes to the administration of the self-regulatory system are recommended to ensure that it more effectively reflects the community standards it was established to protect.