Exciting news! AIP is now a member of the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) tasked with regulating the advertising industry to ensure ethical advertising.
Octavia Hlungwani will now be representing us on the board.
Being part of the ARB includes rights (we now have access to all the big advertisers who are regulated by the board) and responsibilities (we need to make sure that we don’t carry unethical advertising).
Also, please do explore the ARB’s website including its ethical codes on this website here.
Please see the press release below.
ARB AGM RELEASE
At the Advertising Regulatory Board’s AGM held on Thursday 9 March, several exciting developments were announced:
• The inclusion of a section in the Code that aims to regulate the labelling of paid for ranking in advertising listings. This Code amendment was spearheaded by the Competition Commission;
• The addition of an appendix on Vapour Products, on behalf of ARB member Vapour Products Association of South Africa (VPASA);
• The welcoming of new member AIP (Associated Independent Publishers).
The ARB reported sound financials for the year in review, with healthy growth in its reserve fund. Chair of the ARB, Sadika Fakir, commented that as the ARB approaches 5 years of operation, the industry can be proud of what it has achieved, and excited about the potential of self-regulation to protect consumers.
More about the paid-ranking Code Amendment
The ARB worked with the Competition Commission to add the following clause to the ARB Code:
On intermediation services, search platforms and any similar digital platforms, where businesses pay for a particular rank position, or a boost in their ranking, on the search results page, this constitutes a form of advertising and must be clearly identifiable to the average user through appropriate labels such as: 12.5.1 ‘Sponsored’, 12.5.2 ‘Promoted’ or 12.5.3 ‘Ad’
This clause ensures that consumers will understand that if a listing appears at the top of a search on certain platforms, it is not because it is the “best” but because it is paid for. While this may present some enforcement challenges, it is a step in the right direction, and the ARB will work with the Competition Commission to ensure that this protection has teeth.
“We find ourselves faced with new advertising issues the whole time,” says Gail Schimmel, CEO off the ARB. “We’re excited that the Competition Commission flagged this issue with us, and trusts that self-regulation can be part of the solution.”
James Hodge, Chief Economist, Chair of OIPMI and Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Commission, says, “This development is part of a larger enquiry by the Competition Commission. We are pleased that we can work with the ARB to find an immediate protection for consumers exposed to this advertising.”
More about the Vaping Code
The ARB has worked with member VPASA to develop an appendix that addresses the challenges involved in the marketing of Vapour Products. The new Appendix addresses issues such as marketing to minors and health claims. The full appendix will be available on the ARB website at here.
“This is an inspiring example of an industry stepping up to the plate and embracing ethical advertising through self-regulation, in an area where there has been no other action,” says Gail Schimmel, CEO of the ARB. “We are proud to be part of this important development in consumer protection.”
“VPASA has developed self-regulating guidelines for its members which include standards aimed at preventing youth access to the products. We work with the government and other stakeholders such as the ARB to develop processes, legal regulations and standards for our industry and ensure that consumers have access to all available information about vapour products, and that minors are protected. This addition to the Code will ensure that we have enforceable standards around this shared vision,” explains Asanda Gcoyi, CEO of VPASA.
More about VPASA: here.
More about AIP Membership
The Association of Independent Publishers (AIP) was welcomed as a member of the ARB at the ARB’s AGM. Members of the ARB undertake to bind their membership to the decisions of the Board.
The AIP represents hundreds of small, locally owned media outlets from across the country, including newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and online publications.
“The AIP’s membership is an incredibly important development, as it brings small, independent print and online media into the advertising self-regulatory family,” says Gail Schimmel, CEO of the ARB. “This will ensure wider enforcement of ARB decisions and better protection of consumers.”
Kate Skinner, CEO of the AIP, says, “The AIP is committed to ethical and professional business practice. Joining the ARB, committing to the tenets of its Code, and having our voice heard in the advertising space was an obvious for our members. We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership.”