Sex sells – but not on billboards

A Queensland proposal to regulate billboard content would put the state on a par with Saudi Arabia, according to the Outdoor Media Association.

OMA chief executive Charmaine Moldrich told a parliamentary inquiry into outdoor advertising that the current system of self-regulation was the best way to protect children from sexually explicit advertising.

The inquiry is considering whether to introduce official regulation – but Moldrich told ProPrint that that would be a radical step.

"While we cannot answer for the Queensland government, we know that such a move would be out of step with the rest of Australia and the rest of the world – Saudi Arabia is the only other jurisdiction in the world that we are aware of that has government regulation around content."

[Related: Outdoor media grows 5.2%]

Moldrich said the national system of self-regulation had been working well.

"In 2012 there were just three breaches of the code, none of which fell into the category of sex, sexuality or nudity," she said.

"This is in light of over 30,000 advertising campaigns run on outdoor across the nation. From the 12,000 campaigns that were run in Queensland in 2012, no advertisements were in breach of the codes.

"This proven track record demonstrates that claims that outdoor advertising is dominated by sexual imagery are unfounded and the industry can in fact be relied upon to comply with self-regulatory systems."

Moldrich estimated that new regulation would cost the industry more than $3.5 million – in addition to the implementation costs that would be incurred by Queensland.

"Even if government is to bring in regulation, the standards would be set and judged by a group of people who represent the wider community," she told ProPrint.

"This is exactly the system currently in place. We follow a code that is adjudicated by a panel of 20 people who represent the wider Australian community. The current system is funded by industry and doesn’t cost the taxpayers a cent."

[LinkedIn: What's the most effective advertising channel?]

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