19 October 2004
Since the ACA's prior reports to Parliament in 2001 and 2002, it has become a fellow signatory to the Values Statement of the Marketing and Communication Industry in April 2003, and fellow members of the Monitoring and Steering Committee for the Transformation of the Marketing and Advertising Industry.
Regarding its participation in the Monitoring and Steering Committee, the ACA developed, and formally communicated, the following viewpoints to all stakeholders represented on the Monitoring & Steering committee as early as February 2004.
As signatories to the Values Statement, the ACA will remain involved in the greater and wider discussion on transformation in the industry.
The ACA has chosen, however, to develop its own scorecard as determined by prevailing industry realities, and based on a review of the ACA's own Transformation Charter and targets which have been in existence since February 2000. The ACA is now in a position to report that this scorecard, a product of intensive internal consultation amongst its members, is complete and was approved at the ACA Board meeting of 13 October. In the spirit of co-operation, the ACA will now embark upon the process of further engagement with Government and other stakeholders in our industry regarding its scorecard. It will also ask that the ACA scorecard becomes a consistent and integral part of the Government Tender Process.
- The ACA has voluntarily been monitoring members' progress in key empowerment variables - some for over 6 years - though our current surveys, namely the ACA Empowerment Equity Survey and the ACA Employee Cost to Agency Survey. For this reason the ACA communicated to the Monitoring & Steering Committee that it could not make a financial contribution towards the BEE Monitor, but was willing to provide information from its own surveys (which have 100% response) which can be incorporated into the BEE monitor survey.
Annexure A provides an overview of ACA transformation progress up until 2003 in empowerment variables such as ownership, black and gender representivity in various occupational levels as well as black representivity at the AAA School of Advertising (until 2004), which belongs to the ACA. The ACA will be addressing specific milestones in this progress in its presentation to Parliament. As the results of the ACA's annual surveys only become available in early November each year, the ACA is unfortunately unable to provide Parliament with the results of the ACA 2004 surveys.
The following comments regarding the ACA's contribution to the transformation of our industry, in particular concerning Government Tenders and creativity in advertising, can be made.
In late 2003, the ACA brought to the attention of the Monitoring & Steering Committee certain problems which our member agencies experience with Government and Parastatal Tenders. These problems negatively affect, in particular, emerging black advertising companies at a time where BEE preferential procurement is a stated area of concern for Government and parastatals. As a result, several meetings and a workshop involving the ACA, GCIS, the National Treasury and Government Departments have taken place to deliberate the root causes and remedies for the problems that were identified. As a result, a final draft of Best Practice Guidelines for the procurement of Marketing and Advertising Services by Government and Parastatals, to be endorsed by Government and the advertising and marketing industry, is now jointly being developed drawing on international best practice, and will hopefully be concluded before the end of the year.
In 2004, the creative community formed a new organisation called the Creative Circle, with the object of encouraging and promoting creative excellence (which is relevant and meaningful) in the South African advertising and communication industry. The Creative Circle committee has become significantly more balanced in terms of race and gender (45% black, 20% female).
Historically, agencies spent a great deal of energy trying to emulate or adapt European and American advertising, believing that what worked there should logically work here.
Taking what they have learnt from this process, marketers and their agencies have now begun to realize that by communicating to South Africans in a relevant and meaningful way, they ultimately achieve better results.
The Creative Circle intends to promote the industry's successes in the area of transformation, rather than focus only on what has yet to be achieved.
This year's Loerie Awards, for example, were a massive improvement on previous years. According to Gerry Human, Chairman Creative Circle who also served on Loeries judging jury, they included the largest proportion of awards yet to be won by black creatives, exceeding the 21% of awards that was won in 2003 (awaiting confirmation from the MFSA), and a jury that was more diverse than ever before (50% black). The work featured also was far more representative of local culture. Unfortunately, these successes were overshadowed by extensive media coverage regarding other matters surrounding the MFSA.
The Creative Circle is closely tied to the official industry body, the Association for Communication and Advertising (ACA). Since CC members are also members of the ACA, the CC has decided that it makes sense to utilize what it calls "the ACA's well-run infrastructure and in-depth involvement in the areas of education and transformation".
A separate brief presentation by the Advertising Media Forum (AMF) will be made regarding this area.