Transformation of advertising & marketing industry: Draft values statement of the marketing and communications industry

12 November 2002

Patti McDonald

Of an industry which is truly global in its outlook and reach, and genuinely South African in its roots, we of the Marketing and Communications Industry:

  • Acknowledge that like the rest of South African society we have been plagued by the injustices of South Africa's racist past in terms of employee respresentavity, ownership and decision-making patterns,
  • Recognise that the industry plays a critical role in the creation of wealth and the development of our economy,
  • Believe that transformation of the industry is essential for its long term growth and the upliftment of people who have historically disadvantaged,

Hereby commit ourselves to the following values:

In the spirit of the Constitution of South Africa we believe that "South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity and committed to improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person".

Inclusivity and diversity

The industry reflects and shapes the norms of our society. As such it must be committed to reflecting the values and aspirations of all South Africans. This requires the industry - in its make up and ownership as well as in the traditions and cultures it draws upon - to reflect the diversity of the South African population.

The industry is committed to sustainable skills development which enables all our people to enjoy access to the knowledge base needed to shape their destinies within the industry.

Soul of the nation

This industry works in the context of a unique transition - a transition described as a miracle. We shall use our strengths to promote pride in the South African Brand. The industry can contribute to the transition by promoting understanding and appreciation of our diverse cultures, traditions, histories, abilities and disabilities. It can highlight prejudice where it exists by promoting tolerance of all human beings. In doing so the industry can become a mirror of the soul of the nation.

Respect and human dignity

The industry works in a society where the poor, the illiterate, the disabled, women and children suffer a myriad of intolerances. While working for their amelioration and empowerment the industry shall ensure that the dignity of all human beings, and in particular of these vulnerable groups, is respected.

The industry recognises the difficulty of escaping the stereotyping of any group. Where this has to be resorted to the industry shall take particular care not to stereotype or use humour in a manner to the target groups mentioned above.

Business and people's needs

We recognise that the consumer is at the core of our business. Recognising that the industry serves business in its endeavour to create wealth, we shall ensure that the requirement and sensitivities of the consumer are placed at the centre of all our creativity and planning. In doing so we shall better serve the commercial needs of business as well as the long-term aspirations of the South African nation.

Furthermore, the industry shall be committed to abiding by the principle of good corporate governance and abide by the highest standards of ethical business practices.

Responsible creativity

We are mindful that this is an industry which impacts on the views and aspirations of the entire population. This means that the industry must act sensitively while pursuing to break the bounds of creative barriers. Such a commitment will lay the basis for a self-regulation regime which can best serve all stakeholders.

This commitment must not place limits upon the various freedoms enshrined in the Constitution and protected by the Bill of Rights, especially the Freedom of Expression.

- Patti McDonald