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

Blog Posts

Cannes Part 1: Why brands must put human interactions at the heart of their business

As a Media Juror at this year’s Cannes Lions, I was fortunate enough to attend the world’s most influential festival of creativity and listen to thought-leading marketers from around the globe.

Nickie Scriven

CEO, Zenith

4 creative skills that will be useful forever

In recent times, the clarion call from futurists, economists, marketers, educators and leaders the world over is one of slight panic, “The world is changing and you’re not ready for it!” And of course, they make a very good point.

Kieran Flanagan and Dan Gregory

Speakers, trainers, co-authors

Why defining brand strategy is vital to capitalising on quick wins

Big brands were once protected from small brands by high barriers to entry. Big brands had the resources to employ big agencies, to crack big ideas and to invest in big campaigns. They had the luxury of time to debate strategies and work on long-term innovation pipelines. Retailers used to partner with big brands.

Troy McKinnna

Co-founder, Agents of Spring, Calm & Stormy

Being an investor who has an understanding of the finance industry, I would question the validity of this article, judging by the impairm...

Rowan

How a customer-led digital transformation has helped this CMO generate $6m in incremental business

Read more

An interesting update considering that today is the easiest way it has ever been to measure contribution to the business as well as the h...

Frederic

State of the CMO 2019: Tenure shortens, pressure is on as marketers strive to demonstrate impact

Read more

I thought this was what Salesforce Audience Studio (formerly Salesforce DMP) was supposed to do. How are a CDP and a DMP different? I'm c...

Tony Ahn

Salesforce announces customer data platform

Read more

Well written Vanessa!! Agreed with your view that human experience is marketing's next frontier. Those businesses who are focused on the ...

Clyde Griffith

Forget customer experience, human experience is marketing's next frontier

Read more

Great tips for tops skills need to develop and stay competitive

Nick

The top skills needed to stay competitive in a rapidly changing workforce

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in