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ASIA PACIFIC: AUSTRALIA
ADVERTISING WITH SEX, SEXUALITY AND NUDITY
Author: Catherine Chant, Thomson Lawyers
Australia’s administrator of advertising self-regulation, the Advertising Standards Bureau (Bureau), has published its latest research on community standards in advertising. The research considered “community perceptions of acceptability of sex, sexuality and nudity” (SSN) in advertising. Survey participants reviewed 22 advertisements which had been the subject of complaints in the last 2 years to the Advertising Standards Board (Board), the body which determines advertising complaints about issues including SSN.
The research showed that the Board’s decisions on SSB in Ads were broadly in line with community views, although some of the Board’s decisions were more liberal than the views of survey participants.
Factors which tended to render advertisements unacceptable to survey participants were irrelevant nudity or sexual imagery, sexual explicitness (even where relevant to the product), exposure of the material to children, including where it could create negative body image issues for younger girls, and reinforcement of women as sex objects.
Factors which rendered advertisements more acceptable included relevance, humour, artistic treatment and subtlety of sexual connotations rendering them unlikely to be understood by children.
Among other things, the research results will used by the Australian Association of National Advertisers to ensure that its advertising codes are in line with prevailing community standards