Does the self-regulation of the advertising industry matter to you?

Written by Topco Staff Writer


Does the self-regulation of South Africa’s advertising industry matter to you?


Or would you be happy for government to take over? At a guess you answered yes, then no. For 50 years the independent Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has regulated South Africa’s advertising sector. Now in business rescue, it needs urgent help to keep self-regulation alive. For a small investment (with returns) South African business decision makers can join industry peers including McDonalds, P&G, Vodacom and Pioneer Foods in safeguarding the ASA.

Endorsed by Top Media, a communication from the ASA follows:

A plea to corporate South Africa



I am sure you will know that the Advertising Standards Authority is in huge trouble, its existence threatened.
A Business Rescue Plan was accepted at our AGM in April – yet we have a long way to go before we are “safe”.


As the new Acting CEO, my no. 1 task is to secure short term funding to see the ASA through this time; allowing breathing space for the industry to sit down and work out a long-term funding model. To do that, we must pay off historical debts
and have operating costs for the next 6 months for the new, austere ASA.


To this end, I am calling on every single concerned corporate stakeholder to pre-pay one ASA filing fee.

For companies carrying more than one brand, we would ideally like each brand to pay one filing fee.


The ASA filing fee is R 24 396 (including VAT). In exchange for that filing fee, you get:


  • Full credit to file a complaint using this fee at any point in the future;
  • A year’s access to the ASA Rulings Library valued at R3 300;
  • The right to carry the ASA logo, adapted to reflect that you are a supporter of self regulation,on your marketing material;
  • A responsible marketer MAC certificate (providing you qualify), which is worth R627 and in turn earns B-BBEE points;
  • Access to training and support on how to leverage the ASA process.


We’ll also be naming and praising those companies that have already prepaid their fee
on our website. A pro-forma invoice is also available on request.


Why care? If the ASA collapses, these are the consequences:

  • Issues about advertising content will be heard by the courts and the National Consumer Tribunal –
    meaning the average cost to file a complaint will go from about R30 000 (with lawyer’s fees) to hundreds of thousands.
  • Defending a complaint will no longer be free.
  • In the long term, government will step in. We don’t know what it will do – but that may include banning entire sectors
    of advertising to fining advertisers a percentage of their profits.
  • Decisions will be made by people with no industry knowledge or experience – and they will be so slow that
    the time for relevant campaigns will have come and gone.
  • Rules will be undemocratic and set in stone.
  • The demise of the ASA will bring attention to other self-regulators in various industries…

The South African marketing industry simply cannot afford to lose self-regulation.

You may think it’s “not your problem” but it would be a disaster for every company with a marketing voice – and all we are asking for is one pre-paid filing fee: R24 396. A drop in the ocean compared to what the actual cost of losing self-regulation will be to this industry. Our trust banking details are:


Le Roux Vivier & Associates

Standard Bank, Randburg

Account Number: 023 142 375

Branch Code: 018005

Ref: ASA-FC  

Once you have paid, email the POP to [email protected]. You will receive log-in details to our online database, details on getting your MAC certificate and a j-peg of the amended logo.Of course, should you choose to pay a bit more, we’re not going to say “no”. You will get full credit for your actions! Large marketers have been coming to the party with payments of between R150 000 – R1million.

I am personally absolutely committed to an ASA that serves this industry, and corporate South Africa, with humility and excellence.

Thank you for reading.

Gail Schimmel
Acting CEO


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