Spam Act needs to keep pace with marketing campaigns: Industry

ADMA, IAB say innovations such as `send to a friend’ email campaigns have emerged since legislation was written and require constant vigilance

The Spam Act, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this December, needs to keep up with innovations in marketing if it is to remain successful and relevant, according to the Australian Data-driven Marketing Association (ADMA) and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

<i>The Spam Act</i> came into law on 12 December 2003 and regulates the sending of marketing emails, SMS and instant messages. As part of its introduction, it became compulsory for consumers who receive marketing communications to be given the option to opt out.

According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the act has helped reduce the amount of spam over the years. However, ADMA CEO Jodie Sangster told CMO that the legislation needs to keep pace with the changing dynamic of email marketing and emergence of new campaigns such as `refer a friend’ online campaigns.

“Technology has changed the way we do things and you’re applying a piece of legislation from 10 years ago to something quite new,” she said.

Customer complaints about a `send to friend’ email landed McDonald’s Australia in hot water with ACMA in 2012. The regulator found emails sent via the McDonald’s Happy Meal website using the ‘send to friends’ option were sent without ensuring a friend’s consent. The emails had no unsubscribe option either, which is required under the Act. The `send to a friend’ function was removed from the Happy Meal website in February 2012.

“With the McDonald’s case, that was standard industry practice. That is how the majority of companies in Australia were doing a `refer a friend’ campaign,” Sangster said. “The regulator needs to work with the marketing industry because often, the techniques that are used in marketing are often not understood by people who don’t work in marketing.”

IAB Australia CEO, Alice Manners, said the Spam Act is “always worth reviewing” after 10 years to ensure clarity, and highlighted the McDonalds campaign as an example of why. However, she added that spam in Australia is not the issue it was 10 years ago.

For example, Australia was listed in Sophos’ top 10 spamming countries in 2003. As of 2013, it now comes in at place 44.

“The Act has had an overall positive impact as it is not a consumer issue of concern anymore,” Manners said. “You just need to visit some of our neighbouring Asia-Pacific markets where spam is rampant to appreciate the status in Australia currently.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Tyron Hayes

​The current global COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in unprecedented disruption to every aspect of our lives as marketing and brand professionals, from the ways we work, to how our organisations operate, and the way in which we acquire and engage customers. So we’ve drawn on our wonderful CMO50 alumni community to explore different aspects of the crisis facing all of us right now.

More Videos

Why these voice assistants are so popular nowadays? Maybe I should get one too? I am really curious.

Jill Kim

Aussie brands jump on voice-interaction bandwagon following Amazon Alexa's local launch

Read more

Your page is very helpful. Thank you for sharing with us

Eriona Ajvazi

10 brands making a positive difference to a world in crisis

Read more

Extremely insightful and well written. Thanks for the great article!

Nicole Brodie Nahum

Why COVID-19 makes it more important than ever to move at the speed of the consumer

Read more

Blockchain is one of the fastest growing technology in today's digital era. Industries like banking and finance are already using blockch...

Aniket Singh

Can blockchain deliver on its big advertising promises?

Read more

Great article Emma. So many gems in there. Awesome to have you in the team!

One Small Step Collective

Why COVID-19 makes it more important than ever to move at the speed of the consumer

Read more

Blog Posts

The gear change required for business during COVID-19

The current world pandemic, COVID-19, and its tragic effects has created different and challenging situations for nearly every business. Every business sector is affected differently, depending on the nature of what your place in the world, creating the most unique situation most of us have ever and will ever experience during our professional lives.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

How can organisations debias their decisions?

​People whose personal details and experiences signal they come from racially diverse backgrounds are less likely than anglo or Caucasian candidates to make it through the first cut in recruitment processes. Even if the organisation says it values diversity.

Dr Karen Morley

Author, commentator

Is your marketing team adapting quickly enough to the COVID-19 crisis?

The impact of coronavirus is far reaching with the true impact on the economy and businesses is unknown. While there are a few categories and brands experiencing growth, for the most part the crisis is wreaking havoc for large and small operators across many sectors including entertainment, tourism, retail, fitness, services and the list goes on.

Teresa Sperti

Founder, Arktic Fox

Sign in