Save the Advertising Standards Association!

There is no time to mince our words: The Advertising Standards Association will be liquidated by the end of April 2017 unless the advertising industry decides to bail it out. This was the message of the ASASA’s business rescue practitioner at a meeting held last week.
What do advertisers stand to lose? Over the last 50 years the ASASA has been keeping irresponsible and unethical marketers in check by hearing consumer complaints, but more significantly, complaints between competitors. If the ASASA shuts down the industry will lose a very nuanced body of law and the ability to challenge unscrupulous advertisers without going to court. Advertising claims are usually urgent, because as soon as an advert is published the harm is already done. This makes the courts exceptionally poorly placed to intervene. By the time the attorneys have suited up, the advertising is often already over.

It is also by no means certain what will happen to consumer complaints if the ASASA is gone. Will the CGSO adjudicate consumer complaints relating to marketing? I think so, but the uncertainty alone won’t be good for the industry.

What can you do? The ASASA and its members have started a Save the ASASA campaign which will culminate in a fundraising drive on 25 April 2017. If you want to help, please contact Elizabeth at

About the Author:

Elizabeth de Stadler
Elizabeth is the quirky one in the company. She specialises in all things Consumer Law, plain language drafting and designing and delivering training. She prides herself on being slightly out there and bringing a fresh perspective to compliance issues. She has a Masters (cum laude – the nerd) in Consumer Law. Elizabeth met Paul in 2011 and joined Esselaar Attorneys (she is still a senior associate at the firm). In 2013 they founded Novation Consulting together. Elizabeth is a bit of a nerd. She is the editor of the Consumer Law Review (you can get it here for free!) and wrote A Guide to the Protection of Personal Information Act with Paul. She is also the author of Consumer Law Unlocked, a co-author of the hefty Commentary to the Consumer Protection Act and wrote chapters on the Consumer Protection Act in The Law of Contract in South Africa and The Law of Commerce in South Africa. She is currently working with Liezl van Zyl from the Stellenbosch University Language Centre on Plain language legal drafting, which will be published in 2017. Elizabeth loves Lego, sneakers, zombies and white wine. She hates comic sans font, sweet potato and most other attorneys. She is allergic to suits and ‘office shoes’ because of the years she worked at Webber Wentzel. She is very scared of moths. It is a thing – read about it. Want to find out more about Elizabeth? Check her out on LinkedIn. Better yet, contact her on or (021) 481 8004.