1. When you lodge a complaint with the ARB we request certain information. This is to ascertain, as far as possible, that you are a real person, that you are not a competitor pretending to be a consumer and that multiple complaints do in fact come from separate individuals.
  2. We share your name with the Advertiser against whom you complained, and we publish your name in our decisions, if the matter reaches that point. If you do not wish for this to occur, you need to withdraw your complaint.
  3. We do not share any of your other information without your permission.
  4. Your information is securely stored on our server.
  5. You may at any time request details about what information we have about you.
  6. We may from time to time use your information to examine complaint trends based on demographics. In doing so, we will at no time link your name to such trends analysis.
  7. You may at any time before a decision is made, withdraw the complaint and ask us to erase your data.
  8. However, once a decision is made, we are required to keep a full record for our legal protection in the event that the matter is challenged at a later stage.

The ARB decisions are governed by the CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE, which in turn is based upon the International Code of Advertising Practice, prepared by the International Chamber of Commerce.

This is internationally accepted as the basis for domestic systems of self-regulation. The principles laid down in the International Code are then contextualised to the particular circumstances of advertising in South Africa.

The Code is administered by the ARB, with the participation of representatives of the marketing and communications industries, and is amended from time to time to meet the changing circumstances and needs of business and our society.

This Code is supplemented by individual codes, which are determined by the various member organisations or negotiated with governmental institutions. These individual codes are reflected in the Appendices to the Code. The individual codes conform to the general principles laid down by the CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE, and differ only in terms of the individual needs of a particular sector.

How to find what you are looking for?

  1. The Procedural Guide deals with the process followed by the Directorate and both Appeals bodies.
  2. Section I tells you how the Code is interpreted.
  3. Section II contains the basic rules of advertising. (A good place to start if you are not sure what you are looking for.)
  4. Section III contains rules that are specific to particular situations.
  5. Section IV deals with editorial-style print advertisements.
  6. Sometimes, a particular industry has a whole set of specific rules, and these are in the Appendices.
  7. Hover over each Guideline or Appendix name for an explanation of its contents. The Guidelines are not binding and should be consulted for guidance on certain specific issues only.
  8. If you want to know how the complaint process works, then you should consult the Procedural Guide.

Remember to always check the online Code to ensure that you are up to date. The revised code sections below are version 2021.1 - published 09 March 2021


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The Sections of the Code, Procedural Notes and Appendices are available below, as downloadable PDF files

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