COVID-19 – information for advertisers

27th March 2020

The impact of COVID-19 has been broad and far reaching, and the advertising environment is rapidly changing as the Level 4 restrictions impact all New Zealanders.

We are committed to helping every ad be a responsible ad and this is even more important now. Our team will continue to work with you to support compliance with the advertising standards. While our staff are now working remotely, our core services are not impacted at this time. Should you need guidance, we are available to help you, and our complaints process is unaffected. We will be holding our regular Complaints Board meetings virtually, and the Appeal Board will meet via video conference on demand.

Advertisers, agencies and media organisations need to ensure their advertising is socially responsible and protects consumers from undue fear or confusion. Please read the Advertising Standards Code,  which applies to all ads in all media.

We are aware of an increase in advertising for therapeutic and health products and services, and would like to remind advertisers of their responsibilities under the Therapeutic and Health Advertising Code. COVID-19 has not resulted in any changes to the legislation or codes that advertisers are expected to adhere to in this area.

A reminder that prior to preparing and placing their advertisements, advertisers are expected to;

  • Be familiar with the relevant legislation and codes; and
  • Observe a high standard of social responsibility; and
  • Ensure their advertisements are truthful and they must not be misleading; and
  • Ensure their advertisements do not confuse consumers, abuse their trust, exploit their lack of knowledge or, without justifiable reason, play on fear; and
  • Ensure their advertisements do not exaggerate or raise unrealistic expectations or outcomes.

To assist advertisers to comply with the ASA Codes, we have developed AdHelp Information on advertising therapeutic and health products and services during COVID-19 – this is available here.

If you are considering advertising a therapeutic or health related product or service and have any questions, we strongly recommend reaching out to the Therapeutic Advertising Pre-Vetting Service (TAPS) to help minimise the risk of a legal or code breach. Information about TAPS is available on the ANZA website. If you have any questions on advertisements outside the scope of TAPS, you can email us via

If you’re a member of the public and you see an advertisement that you believe breaches the codes, please use our complaints form. If you are an advertiser, use our competitor complaints process.

We are happy to help with any ad standards queries and work with you to support responsible advertising.


Hon. Heather Roy                                                     Hilary Souter

ASA Governance Chair                                             Chief Executive