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SA advertisers draft Social Media code

The South African marketing industry and consumers will soon benefit from a clear code of conduct regarding the use of social media to advertise products and services.

The IAB SA, the ASA and Terry Murphy of the Marketing Mix, as well as a relevant collective of industry bodies and stakeholders are drafting an Advertising Code of Practice Social Media guidelines. The draft document will be officially announced at the Social Media Landscape Briefings, which will take place on 16 October in JHB and 18 October in Cape Town, after which there will be a defined consultation period and date for formal adoption.

Paula Hulley, CEO of the IAB SA says, “This code of conduct will fulfil our objective to put the customer first, and to support a transparent and trustworthy digital supply chain in South Africa. By adhering to these guidelines, our members will create meaningful relationships with their audiences, where consumers trust that all paid social media marketing targeted towards them is respectful and ethical.”

The draft Advertising Code of Practice Social Media guidelines is an industry first, and has been devised with the input of a diverse group of industry stakeholders. Gail Schimmel, CEO of the Advertising Standards Authority says, “As the ASA, we have always championed the rights of the consumer. This code of conduct is a logical and important next step in protecting consumers and promoting ethical conduct on such a dominant medium of communication.”

By working as an industry collective, the resulting code of conduct is objective and representative of all stakeholders. “We are all unified in the common goal to reach our market in fresh, relevant and meaningful ways,” says Terry Murphy of The Marketing Mix. “This is the logical next step in the evolution of ethical advertising in South Africa.”

Once the draft code is presented, stakeholder groups will have time to carefully consider and comment before arriving at an authoritative consensus. Once this has been reached, a formal date for rollout and adoption will be announced.

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