Self-regulation of advertising complaints

Analysis

Assessing the benefits of a self-regulatory advertising complaints handling system

Examining the regulatory system

This report from Deloitte Access Economics examines how the regulatory system operates in the advertising industry.

Complaints handling for the advertising industry is currently self-regulated through the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB). In this report, commissioned by ASB, this system of self-regulation of complaints is assessed against a scenario where the system is regulated through direct regulation by government.

Comparing the self-regulatory complaints system with this hypothetical, Deloitte Access Economics considers it likely that the self-regulatory approach achieve similar outcomes to government regulation in compliance and effectiveness, and perform better in terms of cost, efficiency and responsiveness:

  • Cost: It is likely the ASB requires a lower budget than a government regulator with $1.02 million in salaries compared to $1.42 million.
  • Compliance: The ASB and the government perform equally well with high compliance rates.
  • Efficiency: The self-regulatory system handles the majority of cases (99.8%) in less than three months while a reasonably comparable government regulator completes most (97%) within six months.
  • Effectiveness: The ASB and a government regulator both score reasonably well in terms of complainant and stakeholder satisfaction with the system.
  • Responsiveness: The ASB appears to be relatively more flexible in its ability to regulate new mediums emerging in advertising such as social media.
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