ADVERTISING GUIDELINES – FAIR TRADING ACT


The main way to attract customers to your business is to advertise. Advertising can be very effective in reaching potential customers and showing them what you have to offer, but unless it is properly targeted and effectively designed it can be a waste of money and give your business a bad name.

The first thing you must decide is what type of advertising will be most effective for you, within your budget. The options are many - print (newspapers, magazines), radio, television, Internet, display (posters, billboards), direct mail (flyers in the mailbox), and sponsorship (eg. having your logo on a football team jumper). Don't blow your entire advertising budget on one expensive ad. Try to find ways to stretch your dollar over a period of time. A TV or radio ad is probably not the best option for a new business unless you can afford it.

Design also plays an important role in advertising. A huge number of books have been written on this and how it can affect a customer's behaviour by evoking a feeling or a thought. Again, talk to a designer (either through the advertiser or someone you hire) about what your business does and let them offer you a range of concepts to choose from. Ask them what result they expect the ad to have on your audience and whether your ad will break through the clutter of all the other ads.

Another important element of advertising is to be truthful. Some may think that this is a contradiction in terms, but the fact remains a well-informed customer is a satisfied customer and your best advertisement. Advertising is your business's public face. So it's important to keep it clean.

Honest advertising involves:


What does the law say about advertising?

False, misleading and deceptive advertising is illegal and can result in large fines.

Section 44 of the Fair Trading Act says it is an offence, among other things, to tell customers:


Advertising standards

Placing an ad in public means that it could be looked at by people other than your customers. Other people may take offence or be upset with your ad, so be careful about what you say and how you say it.

Advertising Standards Bureau Ltd administers a national voluntary system of advertising self-regulation through the Advertising Standards Board and Advertising Claims Board.

The Advertising Standards Board provides a free public service in complaint resolution.  It provides determinations on complaints about any form of advertising in relation to issues including the use of language and the discriminatory portrayal of people, concern for children, portrayals of violence, sex, sexuality and nudity, and health and safety.

The Advertising Claims Board provides a competitive complaint resolution service.  It is designed to determine complaints issues of truth, accuracy and legality of advertising on a user pays cost recovery basis.

You can contact the Advertising Standards Bureau on (02) 6262 9822.  Web site: www.advertisingstandardsbureau.com.au


Bait and switch advertising

Bait and switch advertising involves advertising a small number of goods at low prices to entice customers to your business. When the advertised goods quickly run out, customers are switched to higher-priced goods.

You are responsible for ensuring that there are enough supplies available to cover a sale. You still may not be able to meet the demand during a sale but you should have at least planned for it and have reasonable stock or offers available. This is not just common sense, it's the law.

What is reasonable will depend on the type of product, the context of any advertisement and your previous trading experience. The period of offer should also be made clear in the advertisement.

If an offer is available for a limited period then put this in the advertisement. If stocks are genuinely limited, such as a clearance sale, say so in the advertisement.

When you can't meet the demand, you may offer to supply the advertised item to customers at a later date eg. a 'raincheck'. This generally avoids customer dissatisfaction as well as indicating that the advertising was genuine. Alternatively, you can supply equivalent goods immediately and at the advertised price if the customer accepts.


Advertising credit

If you offer credit to your customers and make reference to this in an advertisement, you must also include the annual percentage rate or rates and a statement as to whether any fees or charges are payable.

Further information on credit can be obtained at: http://www.creditcode.gov.au


Advertising business and job opportunities

Under the law, it is an offence to give false and misleading information on jobs or business ventures that operate from home, require work or require money to be invested.

The law aims to stop the fly-by-night operators who make a quick buck from arranging so-called "business opportunities" with little care about the likely success of the ventures they are promoting.


The main way to attract customers to your business is to advertise. Advertising can be very effective in reaching potential customers and showing them what you have to offer, but unless it is properly targeted and effectively designed it can be a waste of money and give your business a bad name.

The first thing you must decide is what type of advertising will be most effective for you, within your budget. The options are many - print (newspapers, magazines), radio, television, Internet, display (posters, billboards), direct mail (flyers in the mailbox), and sponsorship (eg. having your logo on a football team jumper). Don't blow your entire advertising budget on one expensive ad. Try to find ways to stretch your dollar over a period of time. A TV or radio ad is probably not the best option for a new business unless you can afford it.

Design also plays an important role in advertising. A huge number of books have been written on this and how it can affect a customer's behaviour by evoking a feeling or a thought. Again, talk to a designer (either through the advertiser or someone you hire) about what your business does and let them offer you a range of concepts to choose from. Ask them what result they expect the ad to have on your audience and whether your ad will break through the clutter of all the other ads.

Another important element of advertising is to be truthful. Some may think that this is a contradiction in terms, but the fact remains a well-informed customer is a satisfied customer and your best advertisement. Advertising is your business's public face. So it's important to keep it clean.

Honest advertising involves: