|The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with Europe and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010)|
Advertising regulation refers to the laws and rules defining the ways in which products can be advertised in a particular region. Rules can define a wide number of different aspects, such as placement, timing, and content. In the United States, false advertising and health-related ads are regulated the most. Two of the most highly regulated forms of advertising are tobacco advertising and alcohol advertising.
In the United States, the 1903 court case Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing Co. established that advertisements could be eligible for copyright.
Many communities have their own rules, particularly for outdoor advertising.
Sweden and Norway prohibit domestic advertising that targets children. Some European countries don’t allow sponsorship of children’s programs, no advertisement can be aimed at children under the age of twelve, and there can be no advertisements five minutes before or after a children’s program is aired. In the United Kingdom advertising of tobacco on television, billboards or at sporting events is banned. Similarly alcohol advertisers in the United Kingdom are not allowed to discuss in a campaign the relative benefits of drinking, in most instances therefore choosing to focus around the brand image and associative benefits instead of those aligned with consumption. There are many regulations throughout the rest of Europe as well. In many non-Western countries, a wide-variety of linguistic (Bhatia 2000, pp. 217–218) and non-linguistic strategies (e.g. religion; Bhatia 2000, pp 280–282) are used to mock and undermine regulations.
Brazil passed a law in 2014 prohibiting advertising aimed at children. It restricts the use of elements in advertising that would appeal to children such as animation or excessive use of colours.
From 2014, Mexico have restricted when advertisements for junk food can be shown. They are now only to be shown outside of weekday afternoon to early evening and all day on the weekend until evening. 
In New Zealand, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regulates advertising content. The ASA's complaints board (ASCB) consists of public representatives and representatives of media, advertising agencies, and advertisers, and its decisions are based on the ASA's Advertising Codes of Practice. The ASCB considers complaints submitted by members of the public (a different procedure is followed for competitor complaints). In the event that a complaint is upheld, the ASA requests that the advertiser voluntarily withdraw the advertisement.
In South Africa, advertising content is self-regulated and is governed according to standards contained in a Code of Advertising Practice established by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of South Africa, whose members are advertisers, advertising agencies, and media sources that carry advertising. The ASA of South Africa's Code of Advertising Practice is based on the International Code of Advertising Practice prepared by the International Chamber of Commerce.
In the United Kingdom, advertising content regulation is governed by the Advertising Standards Authority whereas in the UK most forms of outdoor advertising such as the display of billboards is regulated by the UK Town and County Planning system. Currently the display of an advertisement without consent from the Planning Authority is a criminal offence liable to a fine of £2500 per offence. All of the major outdoor billboard companies in the UK have convictions of this nature.
In terms of TV advertising in the UK, Clearcast manages all clearances. A script has to be approved first once vetted for inappropriate advertising practices-- then the final copy will be submitted to get final clearance will be given. Without prior clearance, adverts cannot go on air in the UK.
United States of America
- New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority: Advertising Standards Complaints Board (ASCB), retrieved 2013-08-22
- New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority: Competitor Complaints, retrieved 2013-08-22
- New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority, retrieved 2013-08-22
- Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa: About Us, retrieved 2010-07-05
- Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa: Code of Practice, retrieved 2010-07-05
O'Guinn, Thomas; Allen, Chris; Semenik, Richard (2008). Advertising and Integrated Brand Promotion (5 ed.). Cengage Learning. p. 130. ISBN 9780324568622. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
In the United States, several different government agencies have been given the power and responsibility to regulate the advertising process. [...T]he Federal Trade Commission [..] has the most power and is most directly involved in controlling the advertising process.
- Advertising Law at U.S. Small Business Administration
- The Regulation of Advertising at MediaKnowAll.com