The Codes are developed by the ASA Codes Committee, which includes advertiser, agency, media and public representatives, and in consultation with industry and public sectors. Codes are reviewed every five years or earlier if a need arises.
The most recent Code to be released is the Advertising Standards Code. This code is a consolidation of six codes that previously included similar rules and guidelines. The six previous codes are: Advertising Code of Ethics; Code for Comparative Advertising; Code for People in Advertising; Code for Advertising Food; Code for Environmental Claims; and Code for Advertising Vehicles. The new Advertising Standards Code will be effective on 1 November 2018 for new ads, and from 1 February 2019 all ads need to comply.
This takes the number of advertising codes from 11 to six, the Advertising Standards Code and the five sector Codes where advertisers are expected to take particular care; Alcohol, Children and Young People, Finance, Gambling and Therapeutic and Health advertising.
In interpreting the Codes, emphasis will be placed on compliance with both the principles and the spirit and intention.
The function of the Codes is to complement, not to replace, the laws of the land.