Ad code of ethics about applying common sense says Special Group creative partner

Tim Burrowes, Fiona Jolly, Richard Morgan, Dave Bowman and Damian Eales

(l-r) Tim Burrowes, Fiona Jolly, Richard Morgan, Dave Bowman and Damian Eales

There is a natural tension between creating work that “cuts through for a client” but “doesn’t hurt your integrity” Special Group founding creative partner Dave Bowman told an audience at Mumbrella360.

Speaking on the Dear Sir Please Ban this Ad session, which examined how the Ad Standards Board reviews complaints against ads, Bowman said: “There is a natural tension in trying to do something that cuts through for a client, that sticks out, but doesn’t do it in a way that is going to compromise their or your integrity.

“The code is a good reflection of common decency. If you went to a BBQ where you didn’t know anyone and said ‘how about this guys?’ if people would be broadly ashamed to stand next to you’re in a wrong spot, it’s common sense.” 

303Lowe Sydney executive creative director Richard Morgan said guidelines can provide a framework for creatives.

“Sometimes having some guidelines can be quite useful, the tyranny of the blank piece of paper when you’re a creative, you can do anything, sometimes being able to focus your thinking and create some sort of boundaries forces you ultimately to be more clever and come up with unexpected solutions.”

When pushed on if he keeps the AANA code of ethics in mind when working on a brief Morgan said it “depends on the category you’re working in”.

“If you’re working on alcohol that’s a part of advertising where you have to start with the guidelines and work backwards. There’s a lot of things you can’t say or infer for entirely justifiable reasons.”

The two creatives, along with ASB CEO Fiona Jolly and News Corp group sales and marketing director Damian Eales, talked through a variety of ads that have received complaints, with Wicked Campers one such advertiser discussed.

Wicked Campers, which has had around ten complaints upheld this year alone, was one of just three advertisers to not-comply with ASB rulings last year.

“Unfortunately this advertiser uses their own property as their media so there is no enforcement mechanism for us, there is nothing we can do,” Jolly said.

“They’re not interested in any interaction with us. We have been working with the Queensland government to try and establish a regulatory backstop to try and refer a case of non-compliance to the government and have the government impose a fine. But we’re not getting very far with that.”

Miranda Ward


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