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South Africa has well-developed advertising, marketing and PR industries which are mainly centred around the cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The leading professional bodies in the South African advertising sector are the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) and the Advertising Media Association of South Africa (AMASA). They represent a myriad of advertising firms with different specialities. As well as independent companies, there are around 80 subsidiary companies of the international firm WPP operating all over the country with the highest concentration in the towns of Cape Town and Johannesburg. Other leading global brands BBDO and Saatchi and Saatchi operate directly within the country.
Marketers can qualify for the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) through two institutions in South Africa, the Oxford College of Marketing and London Varsity South Africa. CIM is the largest international professional association of marketers in the world and offers training and representation to marketing professionals. Some leading firms operating in the country are Michael Page and the international firm Darnell International.
Public Relations is a distinct industry in South Africa and numerous firms offer PR services as well as integrated communications services. These include PR and communications companies, Meropa and Fleishman Hillard.
In terms of supply and demand indicators, The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 shows that South Africa has a highly developed marketing industry and a sophisticated buyer market. In ease of marketing South Africa comes 29th out of 144 countries worldwide with a score of 5.1 out of 7 where 1 indicates that little use is made of sophisticated marketing tools and techniques and 7 means that they are extensively used. Its ranking reflects a score that is comfortably above the world mean score of 4.1. In buyer sophistication, a score of 1 means that buyers base their decisions solely on the lowest possible cost and 7 means that buyers decide according to a sophisticated analysis of performance attributes. South Africa scores 4.1 out of 7, well above the world average of 3.5 and in 32nd place worldwide.
Professionals in South Africa use a wide range of advertising, marketing and PR media. Print and broadcast media remain key elements of any publicity campaign. South Africa is one of very few African countries which permits privately-owned commercial radio broadcasts.
Internet advertising is well-developed and some firms specialise in social media marketing to capitalise on the more than 6 million Facebook users in South Africa (2012).
Outdoor advertising is an established business in South Africa with pan-African company, Alliance Media, working in the country.