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 or or