This week, the Advertising Regulatory Board formally started work from their offices in the Market Research Foundation building in Bryanston which is also home to MASA. The ARB takes over the work of administering the Code of Advertising practice on behalf of the advertising and marketing industry, regulating the content of advertising.
The launch of this new body follows the forced placement of the Advertising Standards Authority into liquidation proceedings at the end of September.
“The marketing and advertising industries were not prepared to sit back and allow advertising content to become unregulated. We saw the need to immediately step in and protect both the good standing of the industry and the rights of the consumer,” says Greg Garden, CEO of the Marketing Association of South Africa.
The ACA (Association for Communication and Advertising), IAB and MASA all immediately stepped in as founding members of the new company, which has summed up its mission with the tagline, “Consumer protection through responsible advertising”.
“For us, the continued self-regulation of advertising is critical,” says Paula Hulley, CEO of the IAB, who represent digital advertisers. “We are particularly excited that the establishment of the ARB will allow us to continue our exciting project to better regulate advertising in social media.”
Mathe Okaba, the CEO of the ACA, says, “The agencies that are the members of the ACA are all strongly in favour of self-regulation, and we are delighted to see the quick establishment of a new entity. We will be calling on all our members, as well as marketers, to fund the ARB willingly, so that this can be a success story.”
Gail Schimmel, who was appointed the CEO of the ASA after it went into business rescue, is heading up the new entity. “The ASA had fifty years of learning behind it, and it is important that the ARB keeps those lessons in mind. But at the same time, this is a new entity, with a new way of approaching things, and we are very excited about the opportunities that this creates.”
The ARB has started with a streamlined staff and a start-up scaled budget. “We hope to grow,” says Schimmel, “But at the start, the focus is on delivering a quality, speedy service with a minimal cost to the industry.”
So, is the ARB open for complaints? “Absolutely,” says Schimmel. “You can visit the website at www.arb.org.za or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t wait to get started.”