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Update on Protection of Personal Information (‘POPI’) Act

On Friday, 08 September 2017, the Information Regulator published draft regulations in terms of the Protection of Personal Information Act (‘POPI’). They have very important and have significant implications for direct marketers.

Currently, South African law allows marketers to approach customers via electronic communication to market their goods and services as long as customers are given the opportunity to unsubscribe. When POPI comes into effect (best guess that will be sometime early in next year after which marketers will have a year to become compliant) that will change.

When approaching a customer who has not received direct marketing before the customer must first be approached to obtain their consent. The Information Regulator was given the power to determine what this consent would look like which it has now done. You can find it here:  https://novcon.co.za/2017/09/10/popi-regulations-highlights-far/

The prescribed consent is concerning for several reasons. It is two pages long, in legalese and requires a signature. Even though it is supposed to apply to electronic marketing, it seems that the Regulator failed to take digital marketing into account. Luckily, the regulations are still in draft form and we have until 7 November 2017 to comment. The IAB will comment, but this is one of those times when the more voices are heard, the better.


Jerry Mpufane

IAB SA welcomes new Jury President for 2018 Bookmarks

As the IAB SA celebrates its 10th annual Bookmark Awards, it bids farewell to longstanding Jury President John Dixon, who has served for the past four years, and welcomes Jerry Mpufane as Jury President for the #Bookmarks 2018.

“I am personally honoured to be able to lead the Bookmarks in the Jury President role. It is my sincerest hope that my varied experience, having judged at many creative festivals, will add depth to an already strong jury line-up,” says Mpufane.

This year represents a phenomenal landmark for The Bookmarks as it approaches its 10th year as SA’s most coveted awards ceremony in the digital marketing and media industry.

The Bookmarks rewards excellence in digital and recognises the powerful impact interactive has on the overall marketing mix.

“The Bookmark Awards sets the benchmark for the industry by celebrating award-winning work that inspires and educates the market about the power to build brands through creative, high-impact digital executions that deliver measurable results,” says Mpufane.

The digital landscape has evolved extensively over the last decade and the awards have brought together a diverse group of forward thinking, digitally-savvy ad agencies, brands and publishers to celebrate SA digital’s best in class.

Says Dixon, “It’s been a pleasure to serve as Jury President over the last four years. In that time, we’ve seen the Bookmarks continual growth in terms of entries, new categories and reputation. I’d like to thank the Jury Chairs and all the judges who have served along with me for their personal sacrifice.”

This year’s Bookmark Awards will place a special emphasis on the diversity of industry skill sets. In order to enrich the jury panels, we are including industry specialists in the more technical categories that have been introduced.


Digital analytics and evidence obligations in Cybercrimes Bill problematic for IAB SA members

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development published a revised version of the Cybercrimes and Cyber security Bill. By and large the Bill was a welcomed revision of prior drafts. The Bill’s legacy challenges however, with defining electronic equipment and records, creating overreaching cybercrimes, and providing for broad powers of search and surveillance remain.

The IAB SA submitted comments and recommendations as part of the public call for consultation.

In particular, the IAB SA raised the impractical limitations on the use of digital rights management. The Bill does not recognise the use of digital tracking and analytical software as used legitimately by IABSA members to collect, monitor and analyse data traffic and digital communication channels in connection with marketing and advertising intelligence. With the current wording of the section, such legitimate uses would potentially be classified as unlawful.

Moreover, the Bill places onerous evidence preservation and disclosure obligations on persons in control of computer systems. These include taking down data messages in instances where a charge has been laid and providing information including personal information to law enforcement. Typically, co-operation of this nature is subject to court orders or directives. Excessive powers to receive confidential and personal information held by electronic service providers is a global concern and needs to be avoided in South Africa.

The next step for the Bill is in-person submissions in parliament and then we wait for hopefully a more balanced interpretation of cyber security. The Bill is available at http://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/bills/CyberCrimesBill2017.pdf

ICASA’s draft regulations are a positive step to transparency and fairness in data pricing

A positive step to promote digital inclusion of all South Africans.

The IAB South Africa (IAB SA) welcomes the Independent Communications Association of South Africa (ICASA)’s market inquiry into data costs in South Africa as well as proposed amendments to the End-user and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations (Regulations), particularly the extent to which the regulations promote transparency and fairness in data charges.

All drives to reduce data costs not only ensure that our members’ industry sectors continue to thrive and contribute to South Africa’s economy, but also empowers more South Africans to access information, news and educational resources.  Ultimately, we believe that reducing high data costs and costs to communicate in general will ensure that all South Africans enjoy the socio-economic benefits of increased internet usage.

In particular, we welcome the service provider obligations such as:

  • ensuring the end-user can opt-out of out-of-bundle charges when their data bundle is depleted,
  • a duty to refrain from automatically applying out of bundle data charges on an end-user whose data bundle has depleted, and
  • mandatory notifications of data depletion.

Included in the regulations are obligations to ensure minimum duration for data bundles before expiry. 50 megabyte (MB) data bundles should last at least 10 days and 10 gigabyte (GB) data bundles should last at least 12 months.

Overall, the draft regulations do well to bring greater transparency to data charges and promote fairness in the structuring of data bundles. This should allow end users to have better control over their data costs.

The IAB SA looks forward to further consultation with ICASA and other stakeholders to lower data costs in South Africa and ensure the continued growth of the digital industry in our market.


Support the Advertising Standards Authority and score valuable BEE points

Agencies and business who are measured on the Marketing, Advertising and Communications (MAC) BEE Sector Charter can score valuable BEE points by making financial contributions to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The Interactive Advertising Bureau South Africa (IAB SA) and the ASA, working with prominent BEE consultancy Siyakha, have now confirmed that agencies may claim up to 3 scorecard points against the new “Responsible Social Marketing” (RSM) element by providing financial support to the industry self-regulatory body mandated to uphold ethical, honest and responsible marketing practices in South Africa.

The current MAC Charter target for RSM expenditure is 1% of net profit after tax (NPAT), although this will increase to 2.5% of NPAT from 31 March 2018.

What is Responsible Social Marketing?

The MAC Charter defines “social marketing” as “the use of any marketing communications platform for the purpose of encouraging society to embrace habits and practices that contribute to its collective wellbeing and welfare“. This – it explains – can be achieved by cultivating new habits and practices, encouraging adoption of and reinforcing socially good behaviour, discouraging antisocial or socially destructive behaviour, and attending RSM initiatives.

Siyakha CEO Dionne Kerr believes that the inclusion of the RSM element was intended to specifically influence the role that business has to play on transformation through challenging and influencing the norms of a society that still shows strong evidence of its discriminatory past. Says Kerr: “It is pertinent that people with lower levels of education or access to information will make buying decisions that have significant health, lifestyle, societal or financial consequences and so alongside the commitments imposed on industry to make services and products available to previously excluded sectors of society, the MAC sector carries a parallel responsibility to ensure that access to products and services do not serve as a detriment or risk to those individuals”.

The Charter identifies driving under the influence of alcohol as an example of one such destructive behaviour, and explains that expenditure on initiatives intended to combat it would be considered an RSM contribution. The ASA administers and enforces the Industry Association for Responsible Alcohol Use (ARA)’s advertising code in Appendix A of the ASA’s Code of Practice, and in so doing plays a critical role in supporting the ARA and promoting socially responsible advertising relating to alcohol consumption.

Industry and ASA support

“We’re absolutely thrilled that we could find a solution which not only helps demystify the new MAC Sector Code and identify a new, easy way for agencies to score much-needed BEE points, but which also supports the ASA and promotes fair and honest marketing practices in areas where they are critically needed”, says Andrew Allison, Head of Regulatory Affairs for the IAB SA. “This is a fantastic example of how BEE can work to protect and improve the lives of South Africans, whilst also advancing the marketing and communications sector”.

According to ASA Interim CEO Gail Schimmel, “the MAC Charter recognises the important role that the ASA plays in responsible marketing and protecting consumers. It is very satisfying to see the Charter used in a manner that supports the ASA at a time that it needs it most.”

For further information or to make a contribution to the ASA, please contact info@iabsa.net or gail@asasa.org.za or suzaan@siyakha.co.za

IAB Digital Summit 2017 explores The Power of Digital


On 16 March 2017, the IAB Digital Summit, powered by Accenture Interactive saw top brands, publishers, agencies and creatives gather as SA’s digerati were inspired and entertained by both local and global keynote speakers ready to share insights about the reinvention of media, platforms, creative and business models.

Ferial Hafajee, TBO Touch, Didier Uljasz, Lee Naik and Ryan Smit – amongst many others – tackled topics that included content marketing, fake news, streaming and big data.  These were just a handful of the trend forecasts shared on the day that may change the way businesses engage with the digital space.

As the sun set, the sneakers and sandals were swapped out for suits and sequins as the Summit digerati departed and the Bookmark hopefuls arrived. The IAB Bookmark Awards 2017, an IAB SA initiative, celebrated its ninth year of rewarding excellence in digital and recognising the powerful impact interactive has on the overall marketing mix.  This year Ogilvy was recognised as the best agency, with the KFC brand, one of its clients, recognised as the brand of the year.






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Native Advertising Guidlines

These are designed to offer clarity, good practice and a launchpad for further discussion around the marketing tool known as Native Advertising. While they aim to simplify concepts and provide examples it remains cognisant that our market evolves quickly and the lifespan of these guidelines are likely to last a year whereupon it will be updated.

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Ad blocking has far-reaching effects for digital advertising

By Josephine Buys, CEO of IAB SA

One of the trends that could change the face of the Internet is the increasing use of ad blocking software. Whilst this technology is not new, the web seems to have reached a tipping point where frustrated users are jumping the technical hurdles in larger numbers to filter out online ads.

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Who should apply?

Interested in joining the IAB SA?
Read more here about which companies and organisations can benefit the most.

The benefits

What makes membership of the IAB SA worthwhile?
Read more here about the wide range of benefits that our members enjoy.

How to apply

Want to become a member of the IAB SA?
Follow these easy steps to apply for membership and join the heartbeat of SA’s digital industry.

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