The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) is an independent body that regulates advertising in the public interest through a system of self-regulation. The ASA collaborates with government, statutory bodies, consumer organisations and the advertising industry to ensure that content satisfies the requirements of the Code of Advertising Practice. Any person or entity believing an advert is false, misleading or harmful in any way may lodge a complaint with the ASA.
KISCH IP is experienced in providing professional services pertaining to the ASA and defending complaints to this body or to the High Court. We also advise clients on the legal aspects of advertising, direct marketing, brand and intellectual property protection and product labelling.
Advertisements, in terms of the Code, include the traditional forms of advertising (for instance television or print commercials) and other forms such as websites and product packaging.
The formalities for lodging a complaint are straightforward and the process short. An advertiser is required to respond to a complaint within 3 to 5 days, depending on whether a consumer or competitor is lodging the complaint. Given the severity of the consequences that can arise, there are two appeal processes in place, following the first ruling.
With this in mind, it is imperative that advertisers ensure their advertising material and content complies with the Code before releasing it into the market.