The ASA runs a voluntary process which is able to deal with complaints about advertising in very short time-frames. If the advertisement is in breach of the Advertising Codes, it is removed or changed. This can be a considerable cost to the Advertiser, depending on the type of advertisement or campaign. In addition, all the decisions are released to the public and media via the ASA website and are often reported. This can result in a reputational risk for the company.
If the ASA had the ability to enforce a fine, our process would have to be more legalistic and it would take longer. Ad campaigns are often short and action to address any concerns is needed in weeks, not months.
Government regulators can prosecute advertisers for misleading and deceptive conduct. These include the Commerce Commission, Financial Markets Authority, Ministry for Primary Industries and Medsafe.