What do we do?
We represent the interests of the marketing industry (corporates, SMMEs, NGOs) and
individual marketers. The Marketing Association is the voice of the marketing industry. It
ensures that marketer’s views are taken into consideration when decisions affecting the
marketing industry are made by state, business or similar organisations. We influence and
shape policy and support ethical and responsible marketing practices. We provide leadership
to the industry in a time when marketing, generally, suffers from an unsatisfactory
reputation and has yet to become a profession.
How do we do this?
Board directors and management, assisted by the Association Technical Committee, keeps
abreast of major issues impacting on the marketing industry. The outcomes include
workshops, seminars, submissions, best practice notes and adhoc meetings with authorities
as and when the need arises. Examples of this include the ASA funding issue, with long-term
strategies being developed to ensure viability; working on new proposals to fund the self-
regulatory structures; workshops on the review of the Advertising Code; submissions made
on the proposed amendments to the traffic regulations that would impact all visible
advertising; submissions made in terms of amendments proposed by ICASA; on-going work
regarding developing a pro-active, win-win situation regarding the pending rules and
regulation of the advertising of alcohol beverages; support for the campaign regarding the
marketing of products to children;
Members of the Marketing Association are appointed to industry Boards and Committees, as
well as to working groups, where they are given a mandate and a reporting requirement.
Members are informed from time to time when vacancies arise. Vacancies are filled from
applications by a selection process based on matching the portfolio requirements with the
skills and experience of the applications received.
Which organisations enjoy Marketing Association representation?
The Levy Collection Agency (LCA)
The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASASA)
The South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF)
The Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC)
The Interdependent Partnership – which includes such marketing associations and
organisations as the DMA, ACA, PRISA, CGCSA, OHMSA, AMF, ASA
What types of issues have been dealt with on these committees and what issues are we faced
with in the future?
The Association has been actively involved with the Advertising Code Reviews. Submissions
were solicited from members in early 2009, collated and delivered. Currently a more
detailed Code Review process is under way, involving workshops; the collation of member
comments into a comprehensive industry submission that aims to address the Code, the ASA
mandate as well as to provide suggestions as to costs and funding – two critical issues facing
the viability of the ASA.
Marketing Association directors have been active on the SAARF main board as well as on
Council committees (TAMS, AMPS, RAMS, etc) – and on such internal committees as the BEE
Committee. These representatives have been part of the policy process and have ensured
that the interests of marketers and the marketing industry is maintained at the forefront of
these processes. These issues include planning for five year research cycles, the awarding of
research tenders as well as determining what research is needed by the industry.
MASA directors on the ABC board have been involved in ensuring that the ABC “currency” is
well-understood by all stakeholders and that the circulation audit criteria meets
international and best practice standards. A current issue receiving attention from MASA
directors is the impact of the Competition Act on the circulation figures relating to
The Marketing Association, in association with members of the Interdependent Partnership,
is currently involved in shaping and influencing the way forward with regards to the
advertising of alcohol beverages, which we believe is going to be a major issue impacting the
marketing industry after 2010. Similarly, we have worked closely with the Consumer Goods
Council of Sa to establish and set out a pledge guiding the way products are marketed to
children – with specific emphasis on fast-food and cold drink products. The way in which
these products contribute to obesity and how these are marketed, is also part of this work.
What is the Marketing Association doing to uplift the unsatisfactory image of marketers and
the marketing industry in general?
The Marketing Association fully supports the King 3 Code on brand value and the vital role of
the marketer or marketing department in managing reputation risk and brand value. We
believe one of the main risk management strategies in this regard is to ensure that all
marketers that are trusted with the brand of a company are in fact professional marketers.
The Association thus advocates the importance of affiliation with a professional body that
has the power to enforce a code of ethics through a structured disciplinary process. A
professional marketer is required to maintain and enhance their knowledge and skills
through a continuing professional or education development programme (CPD). This is
facilitated through individual membership of the Marketing Association as well as the
Chartered Marketer and Marketing Practitioner designations.
How do Corporates and other organisations manifest a professional and ethical environment?
Corporates, SMMEs, other business entities and state organisations (SOEs) that have a
relatively large marketing spend or that have marketing as a central business or
organisational strategy, maintain an ethical marketing environment through three major
HR policies for hiring marketers must stress individual membership of a
recognised and relevant professional body – to ensure that marketers
operate within an understood and agreed code of ethics that includes CPD.
That the company risk management strategies include the vital role of the
marketer (marketing director) in reputation and brand value management,
as indicated in King 3.
That the Company supports self regulation through Corporate or SMME
membership of the Marketing Association.
Why does the Association emphasise self-regulation and what is the connection to Corporate
ethical marketing practice?
We take our lead on this from the position of the International Chamber of Commerce and
the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA). Self-regulation is not just opposite to
state legislation. It is a totally different way of operating that involves agreement from
contributing stakeholders on a course of action or mode of practice. The agreement is based
on ethics and a value set that protects the consumer and promotes best practice in the
industry. It also supports the establishment of structures that provide vital services to the
industry, such as research and circulation audits.
Commitment to self-regulation is a statement on principled and ethical practices. According
to the EASA Charter, self-regulation is “compelling evidence of business’ commitment to
Corporate Social Responsibility”. The ICC as well as the EASA regard appropriate legislation,
working in harmony with rigorous self-regulation, to be the ideal ethical and responsible
safeguard for consumers as well as providing a firm and level playing field for advertisers
and media owners.
How does corporate membership of the Marketing Association help and support self-
Many business constructs, such as best practice, professionalism, ethical modes of
behaviour and governance are not well understood by the very industry that should be
adopting these processes. Corporate membership of the Marketing Association provides
substantial support for the self-regulatory structures. A wide body of membership presents
irrefutable proof that the industry wishes to be responsible and ethical – and that the
membership cohort accepts these principles as central to their marketing practices. The
membership fees help support an administrative structure that in turn allows the Marketing
Association to implement central strategies relating to advocacy, communications,
promotion of professional conduct, continuing professional development, benchmarking of
educational and training standards and significant contributions to the development of
suitable and appropriate legislation, where this complements self-regulation.
What is the alternative to self-regulation?
The alternative to self-regulation is legislation, and we submit, an alienation of ethics-based
practices. This difference is exemplified in the difference between the USA approach to
governance (heavily legislated – Sarbanes-Oxley) as opposed to the UK approach of a
“voluntary” code (Cadbury and King). The self-regulation philosophy requires extensive
buy-in from its stakeholders. This buy-in ensures a much higher degree of ethical
behaviour – which a legislative system does not necessarily or easily achieve, as self-
regulation is based on judgment by peers and not by the courts. It is based on recognition of
the legislation (which a strong Association would have influenced in any case) and a
commitment to go the extra mile by agreeing to be self-regulated, by such structures as the
Advertising Standards Authority or the Audit Bureau of Circulation. Legislation on its own
does not engender ethical behaviour. Self-regulation by its very nature, does. A purely
legislated marketing environment will lead to a further degeneration of the image of
marketers as instead of working on a best practice code, marketers will push the legal
barriers – and probably fall into the reputation trap that has been the bane of lawyers.
We agree with the ICC and the EASA that positive support of a self-regulatory system is a
statement about good governance, appropriate and effective risk management and a
commitment to ethical and professional practices in the industry. To opt out is a statement
about not supporting self-regulation and is an attitude that relies on other businesses to try
to build up the name of marketers and the marketing industry.
Does the Marketing Association have any document/s that underpin its approach to self-
regulation, best practice, good governance and ethical, professional behaviour of marketers
and marketing corporates?
The Marketing Association supports the ethos as captured in various documents set out by
the International Chamber of Commerce and the European Advertising Standards Alliance –
available on their respective websites.
The Association is a member of the World Federation of Advertisers and is thus bound by its
code of conduct – the principles of which are in turn captured into our own code of ethics.
The Marketing Association has its own code of Conduct that is binding on all individual and
Corporate members. This code of ethics in turn binds our members to the support of the
self-regulatory philosophy as outlined above.
The Marketing Association is a signatory to the Values Statement of the Marketing Industry
and Communications Industry – signed on April 2003 – and which our Code of ethics makes
binding on all corporate and individual members.
Draft – January 2010 – CJ de Villiers