How to make an effective complaint

Anyone can complain about any advertisement in any media. The complaint must be in writing or via our online complaint form. Your complaint must include:

Copies of advertisements:

To help ensure fast consideration of your complaint, please assist with the following:

  • For broadcast media: The date, approximate time and channel/station on which the advertisement was played. It is helpful if the name of the advertiser is included.
  • For digital media: The URL or website address and a printout or screenshot of the relevant part of the site, or a copy of the actual advertisement.
  • For all print advertisements: A copy of the advertisement together with the name and date of the publication.
  • For billboard or outdoor advertisements: A digital image/ photo of the billboard is helpful. Other useful information includes the name of the billboard company, which is usually visible on the billboard, and its exact geographic location.

Complaint details:

  • As a complainant, please look through the Advertising Codes, and choose what you feel is the most appropriate code and rule/s for your complaint.
  • When writing your complaint, please be specific. Examples:

    “I find the advertisement offensive because the part where it says, “ ….” demeans all young mothers ” This is much more effective that a general statement such as “I did not like this advertisement.”

    “I believe that the claim in the advertisement, “….” is misleading because…”

  • Please include your name in your complaint. However, only your first initial and last name will be used in the Decision or Ruling. We also need an email address or postal address and a phone number.

Extra Information

  • Fill in the online complaints form at or post to PO Box 10-675, Wellington, or email You can read the Complaints Procedure
  • You may wish to read some of the Complaints Board’s previous Decisions
  • If any assistance is required with any of the above do not hesitate to phone us on 0800 AD HELP (0800 234 357) or (04) 472 7852.
  • Once a complaint is accepted, the Complaints Board will ask the advertiser, the advertising agency (if there is one) and the media to respond to the complaint. Responses are required within seven days.
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