Wednesday, 18 January 2012

A$A funding crisis and Frankies v Woolies update

Those scales need $ fast
Disturbing news of the possible demise of the Advertising Standards Authority (South Africa) for lack of funding has been circulating for a few weeks now with no immediate respite in sight.

Afro Leo was on the phone to the ASA this morning who confirmed that there was "no change in the situation".

The ASA is the regulatory body that protects consumers from unethical and misleading marketing and referees disputes between competitors. This latter function often involves disputes over packaging, slogans and advertising goodwill which is where it overlaps with intellectual property, especially passing off and unlawful competition.

The ASA has, to a large extent, through its efficiency, relatively cheap cost, transparency (eg an up-to-date website complete with decisions) and engaging manner, shown up our courts by attracting disputes which otherwise might have been heard before them. In doing so, it has fulfilled a vital function for business and the consumer, generally.

An example of a recent dispute handled by them is the Frankies V Woolies look-a-like packaging saga that erupted in the press just before Xmas. News on the development of this case is that Frankies has filed its complaint. It took some time before monies reached the ASA and no doubt the Xmas holidays delayed the matter. In any event the ASA is now awaiting Woolies' reply before taking the matter further. For Afro Leo's grilling by Bruce Whitfield about the dispute (702 and Cape Talk) click here.

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