As the most visible element of the marketing communications mix advertising has had its critics over the years and developed countries usually opt for a self‐regulatory approach to deal with unacceptable advertising. The recent breakdown of one of the world’s longest established advertising self‐regulatory programs in Australia has reopened the 20 year‐old debate that has taken place in the leading academic and business journals concerned with improving the effectiveness of such regulatory systems. One of the key changes in this area is the increasing dominance of the rival advertisers in the complaints process. This article presents a model of effective advertising self‐regulation and reports on the key findings of an Australian study. The empirical work, utilising a mix of qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques, succeeds in making both a practical and theoretical contribution to this important area.
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