Australia’s best advertisers have been fined for misleading consumers
Posted February 08, 2019 06:00:54In Australia, advertising is often a low-risk business.
But this year, advertisers are being held to account for misleading their customers.
Key points:AUSTRALIA’S BEST ADVERTISERS ARE FINALLY HONEST about their advertising signsSome of the biggest advertising companies have been hit with fines by the Advertising Standards Authority of Australia (ASA)After being fined for deceiving customers, some of the country’s biggest advertising businesses are now admitting they misled consumers, the ABC has learned.
The ASA issued its findings on Thursday, with a number of the largest Australian companies under investigation for their advertising displays.
One of the most significant investigations is being carried out by the Australian Advertising Standards Organisation (ASO), which has been investigating advertising companies since the ABC revealed the extent of deceptive advertising in Australia last year.
As the ABC first reported last year, ASO has found a number a advertisers who have failed to disclose to consumers how much their ads cost them, how much they are promoting or who the people behind them are.ASO has launched a wide-ranging investigation into advertising practices and found that many of the companies that have been found to have been misleading consumers have not only been fined but also have lost advertising contracts.
Many of the advertisers who were found to be misleading consumers, have lost their advertising contractsThe ABC understands that the ASO’s investigation has uncovered some of Australia’s biggest advertisers.
In particular, the investigation has been focussed on four companies: Arianespace, Aerospatiale, Aviva and Sky TV.ASOC, which has overseen Australia’s most lucrative advertising market, has found that the four companies are not only guilty of misleading consumers but also face penalties of up to $50,000 for each offence.
But the ASOA has found some of these advertisers have not yet been caught.
As well as being fined, Arianescope and SkyTV have been warned that they could lose advertising contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and they have been ordered to pay fines of up a further $50 million each.
Arianespaces director of communications, Pauline Gullick, told the ABC the company had been made aware of the ASOs investigation and was “confident that the parties have agreed to resolve the matter”.
“The Australian advertising market has seen significant growth in recent years, and while we have no doubt that our clients are fully compliant with the law, we have to take all matters under consideration when making any decisions,” she said.
A spokesman for Arianspaces told the BBC the company did not comment on ongoing investigations.
As for the four advertisers, they have yet to be named, but their names have already been published in a letter to the ASA from the four ad companies.
The letter, dated February 4, said it was “inconsistent” with ASO investigations that the ad companies were not yet named, and that they had “made every reasonable effort” to be compliant with all relevant laws.ASA chief enforcement officer, Mark Denniss, said he had contacted the ad executives, and the companies had agreed to meet.
“The company has been advised that the advertising companies will be meeting with the ASSO,” he said.
“I am confident that the investigation will produce a clear outcome.”
He said the investigation would not result in any sanctions against any of the ad firms.
“We are not looking to issue any fines or injunctions at this time, but we do want to ensure that the companies understand that they will be held to a higher standard of conduct in the future,” he told the broadcaster.
Advertising Standards Authority chairman, David Lidz, said the findings highlighted a growing need for “reform” in the industry.
“This investigation demonstrates the need for greater consistency and consistency across all ad networks and across advertising services in Australia,” he wrote in a statement.
“Advertisers should be able to make informed decisions about the type and quantity of advertising they are providing and the quality of their advertising, but they should be held fully responsible for what they do with their advertising.”
Topics:advertisers,consumer-protection,advertising-and-marketing,consumer,government-and,law-crime-and –public-sector,industry,australiaFirst posted February 09, 2019 08:40:50More stories from New South Wales