How To Make A Complaint

When it comes to online advertising and data privacy, it is important that you are seen and heard should you feel that a boundary has been crossed.

How To Lodge An Advertising complaint

Advertising Standards Board

To make a complaint about an advertisement you have seen, or the content it contains, you will need to visit the Advertising Standards Board website.

You can also read about the various advertising codes, understand the code around influencer ads and discover the most complained about ads of the previous year.

There are also interesting case studies into ‘greenwashing’ and green claims in ads, political advertising complaints and guidelines into how mental health should be depicted in advertising.

Data Protection

If you are in Australia, and the complaint or feedback you want to provide links to your personal data and information, you will need to send this to the Australian Direct Marketing Association. This can also be used if you are receiving unwanted emails. 

If you are based outside of Australia, then we recommend the ANA site as your first point of call.

When you are submitting your complaints through either of these means, they will be addressed and noted fairly quickly. The Association and Board are generally responsive, and will help to determine where your complaint needs to be sent.

What Is Behavioral Advertising? 

Behavioral advertising is a tool that is used by advertisers and publishers. Unlike general advertising, behavioral advertising is tailored to each individual person. It learns trends from searches carried out, and the online interests and activities of a person (or, more accurately, an internet-connected device). 

This type of advertising provides marketing campaigns and messages to be fine-tuned and specific to you, and permits the advertisements you see to be more relevant. While this is useful for many, it is not welcomed by all.

Online behavioral advertising can also be referred to as OBA, or interest-based advertising (IBA).

If you have a complaint about OBA then as a first step you should visit before lodging your consumer complaint here. The ANA has a useful checklist too.


In Australia, in the vast majority of cases, advertising brands and companies will deal with any complaints personally, and help provide an outcome or resolution. However, in some cases, you may find that a company may not address your complaints.

If this happens, then you can refer your complaint to Ad Standards. They will help to investigate this issue further

When emailing, you should provide as much information as possible to speed up the overall process.

Dale Williams
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