Opinions about advertising in Australia: A study of complainants

Michael Volkov*, Debra Harker, Michael Harker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Advertising expenditure has risen globally and in Australia there has been a 2.7-fold rise in the last 10 years. It is suggested that some advertisements may be 'unacceptable', that is unfair, misleading, deceptive, offensive, false or socially irresponsible. Industry and regulatory responses to consumer complaints about these problems must be addressed. This research is concerned with consumer behaviour and consumer complaint behaviour specifically in the area of advertising in Australia. The general findings from the reviewed literature indicated that complainants tend to be older, have attained higher levels of educational qualifications, earn a higher gross weekly income, possess greater degrees of wealth, have higher participant levels of local community involvement and, in general terms, have more resources to avail themselves of in order to allow them to take action when dissatisfied. The results from this research engender a better understanding of the complaining public. Empirical analyses were used for determining the characteristics of people who complain to the Advertising Standards Board and inferred that their opinions regarding advertising differ from members of the general population in four key areas. This research will afford regulatory bodies a better understanding of the complaining public as well as educating marketing communications strategists in effectively reaching their target markets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-242
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Marketing Communications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Acceptable advertising
  • Advertising
  • Advertising in Australia
  • Consumer complaint behaviour
  • Self-regulatory bodies


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