Advertising in South Africa

Nov 4th '20

The Advertising Regulatory Body (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 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.


A hard copy of the Code, which is available in a loose leaf binder, may be obtained from LexisNexis Butterworths.


How to find what you are looking for?


  • Section I tells you how the Code is interpreted.
  • Section II contains the basic rules of advertising. (A good place to start if you are not sure what you are looking for.)
  • Section III contains rules that are specific to particular situations.
  • Section IV deals with editorial-style print advertisements.
  • Sometimes, a particular industry has a whole set of specific rules, and these are in the Appendices.
  • 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.
  • If you want to know how the complaint process works, then you should consult the Procedural Guide.


Code Review

The Code is a dynamic instrument and is constantly reviewed. If you would like to make a code review submission, please email


Remember to always check the online Code to ensure that you are up to date.






Legacy Appendices


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