Following the time-honoured advice, 'physician heal thyself', the Australian ad industry is to boost its image with clients and the wider public.

The Advertising Federation of Australia is planning to raise professional standards among its members and change negative perceptions through an accreditation scheme.

This aims to improve staff training and knowledge of codes governing ads for alcohol, cars and children's products - among other sensitive sectors.

The scheme, which is being launched with a modest A$250,000 ($184k; €154k; £106k) budget, claims to be the first of its kind in the world.

AFA chairman Russel Howcroft, says that although advertising now operates under greater government scrutiny, it often has a poor image.

He adds: "Our objective is to close the gap between perception and reality. This will make significant inroads into addressing those perceptions."

The federation has already begun lobbying media owners for support to finalise the marketing strategy and hopes to sign 45 agencies to the new code by the middle of this year.

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff