Sexual appeal advertising: Code of ethics amendments

Effective from 1 March 2018, the Advertising Standards Bureau now accepts complaints under the amended section 2.2 of the Australian Association of National Advertisers’ Code of Ethics (the Code), which prevents advertising that uses sex appeal from being exploitative or degrading.

The amended section 2.2 provides that advertising or marketing communications shall not employ sexual appeal:

  • where images of minors or people who appear to be minors are used; or
  • in a manner which is exploitative or degrading of any individual or group of people.

The definition of exploitation has also been updated to mean ‘taking advantage of the sexual appearance of a person, or group of people, by depicting them as commodities; or focusing on their body parts where this bears no relevance to the product or service being advertised’.

Advertisers will need to ensure that any new campaign or marketing collateral is compliant with the Code.  The Code has been in operation from 1 March 2018 and can be found at this link.