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Advertising news

SABC cuts 'improper' adverts during mourning

The SABC has informed the advertising industry that it will not accept "inappropriate" adverts during the period of mourning for deceased former president Nelson Mandela.
Although the communique sent by the SABC's management did not specify which products it deemed to be inappropriate‚ spokesman Kaizer Kganyago confirmed on Wednesday that this included alcohol. He could not give examples of other products falling into the category.

No alcohol advertising

Reports have suggested that the SABC earns more than R542m a year just from flighting alcohol adverts‚ let alone the other "inappropriate" products.

The decision by the national broadcaster to categorise alcohol adverts as "inappropriate" will be music to the ears of Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi‚ who is passionately driving a campaign to have alcohol advertising banned altogether by law because of its harmful effects on health.

He said the prohibition on "inappropriate" advertisements would last until December 16 - the end of the period of public mourning for Mr Mandela - and was intended to honour and respect the world icon.

After this period‚ advertising would be flighted as usual. There was no advertising on SABC programmes in the first 48 hours after Mandela's death.

Mr Kganyago noted that some companies had decided on their own initiative not to advertise during the mourning period.

"They approached us and said they did not want us to advertise their products during this period. This includes some of the big alcohol companies."

Hard for advertisers

The SABC's decision to suspend "inappropriate" adverts is understood to have created a mighty headache for advertisers.

Advertisers have substantial budgets to spend on behalf of their clients ahead of the festive season‚ normally characterised by more than the odd tipple or two.

The suspension will also mean a substantial loss of revenue for the public broadcaster unless alcohol and other "inappropriate" products are advertised more intensively after the mourning period to make up for lost opportunities.

South African Breweries (SAB) spokeswoman Robyn Chalmers said the group was "aware that the SABC has suspended advertising content for various categories‚ including alcohol‚ for a period of time.

"On Friday‚ December 6‚ the day that SAB learnt of the sad passing of former president Nelson Mandela‚ the company made the decision to halt all brand broadcast advertising as well as social media activity for a period of time as a sign of respect to the late former president and as a mark of our belief in the importance of corporate citizenship.

"This was implemented across all broadcast channels‚ namely all TV and radio‚ including the SABC‚ and will take place between December 6 and 16‚ that is until after the funeral has taken place.

"This decision was taken by SAB alone‚ and does not apply to our competitors‚ some of which we believe have taken the decision to buy up the spots released by SAB on non-South African channels."

Honouring Mandela's legacy

Stellenbosch-based Distell‚ which produces and markets a range of wines and spirits‚ has also been affected by the advert suspension.

The company's communications manager‚ Dennis Matsane‚ said that "along with some other companies‚ Distell respects the SABC's decision. We see it in the spirit of honouring Mandela's legacy."

Dr Motsoaledi is determined to proceed with curtailments of alcohol advertising‚ sponsorship and promotion to prevent abuse and the associated costs to the health system.

However‚ the proposed Control of Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages Bill has not yet been published‚ more than two months since it was adopted by the Cabinet and despite promises to be released "shortly".

The Cabinet is reportedly divided over the bill‚ with some departments concerned about its potentially damaging effect on the economy.

Consultancy Econometrix has estimated that the ban will cost the economy almost 12‚000 jobs and cut R7.4bn from South Africa's gross domestic product.


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I would like to clarify for the industry the misconception that most citizens have, including yourself, that the cabinet has passed the bill. It has NOT passed the bill. It has ONLY given approval for the bill to be gazetted for public opinion.
Posted on 13 Dec 2013 16:30
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