SA Election – SMS Spam discussed.

I hate SPAM SMS, I think that its the pits and my reaction is usually to put the sender on my “I will never buy from you” list.
During the last few days of election campaigning both the ANC and the the DA have sent out SMS to whatever lists they have to urge people to vote for them – neither gave an opt out option although the DA message had a telephone number to call and was signed by the party leader. The message invited engagement, calling the number resulted in an engaged tone so not sure whether there was a person at the other end or a recorded message – but it would seem that the number is being used.

The message is also designed to appeal to the emotions of the DA supporter and hits the trigger points.


The quality of the ANC messaging is very different, very “election poster” and no engagement – kind of looks like the ANC or their agency were going through the motions or maybe don’t really understand the medium, but then just a short while ago the ANC was kind of writing off digital platforms as irrelevant to its followers so its a great step forward in the understanding of the power of digital.


There has been a bit of a backlash on twitter regarding the political nature of the message and clearly both parties are sending out SPAM. To them however to the political parties the risk is low, I am going to vote and all this would have done was to make sure that I will, there is absolutely no ways that I am going to boycott a party, like I might an insurance company because of this type of SPAM and we also know that it will stop pretty soon so I don’t really care (although if all the parties did it, maybe I would think differently.)

Be kind of interesting to see how this all grows for the next election.

Posted via email from Organic Marketing…

Posted on May 18, 2011 at 9:39 am by Walter Pike · Permalink
In: Uncategorized
  • Johan

    Well, the DA lost my vote. I opted out of their spam before, so they were breaking the law by spamming me again.

    • Walter Pike

      Johan I say this with all the respect in the world. I cannot conceive how given the issues we have to deal with in South Africa that a SPAM SMS would change how I would vote. But I respect that you place an extraordinary large value on that issue.

      • Johan

        It is against the law to send spam without opt-out instructions or not honoring opt-out requests, as per the ECT Act. So what they did is a crime.  It makes no difference if it is a single big crime (like murder) or several hundred thousand small crimes (like spamming). It is just as serious, in my view. What message are they sending out by doing this? That white collar crime is OK? Or that they are above the law? Either way, I lost all respect for the DA.

        • Walter Pike

          Johan – and you never drove at 60,5km per hour in a 60km zone? or stopped at a traffic light with a portion of your car over the line, or crossed the road where there wasn't a pedestrian crossing?

          Yes SPAM is an offence and I for one campaign vigorously against SPAM and spammers. In fact Waspa have imposed fines totaling R28000 to uphold my complaints in the last few months.

          In fact technically all “traditional” advertising is SPAM as its an unsolicited commercial message.

          I however am not commenting on the legality of the situation, I am commenting on its social impact (marketing impact) for a very eloquent legal analysis – please read my next post.

          I suppose I see things in a less absolute way than you do – I do see a difference between minor offences and major ones (the law does as well by the way – which is why sentences vary) and I don't see a person dropping a sweet wrapper or throwing a cigarette butt out a car window with the same defree of seriousness as a mass murderer because they are all against the law

          But thank you for your comments – you may well be right.

          I also assume that you have laid a complaint in terms of the ECT Act and I look forward to you updating me on its progress. By the way not doing so may be construed as being an accessory after the fact – which is a crime – but a lawyer would need to confirm that thought.

          • Johan

            Yes, I have exceeded the speed limit, and I payed the fines. So I am in the clear now. However, now that I know small crimes are OK in the eyes of our leaders, I might be doing a few more myself. Maybe next time a customer pays me in cash, I will put the money in my pocket, instead of running it though the books and pay tax and VAT on it.

            Did you not see the series of TV adds recently, showing what happens if people do small crimes, and how they eventually turn into bigger crimes?

            As far as I know, there has not been a single conviction against spammers. So there is no point reporting it. The government does not take spam seriously, as they have so clearly demonstrated.

      • Johan

        Furthermore, I would rather them spend their marketing budget on legitimate advertising.

        Sending unsolicited promotional messages over a one-to-one communication medium is disruptive and wasteful. A message like this, which is clearly one-to-many, makes much more sense over a one-to-many medium (newspapers, magazines, radio, TV & internet). At least the revenue from advertising can help create more and better paying media related jobs, and improve the very poor quality of newspaper and magazine articles, as well as TV and radio programming we have in this country.

        As far as I can tell, it looks like they sent the spam from a provider outside of SA. What a complete waste.

        • Walter Pike

          In fact my view is different – I think what you call legitimate advertising is in many instances a waste of time and money.

          Keep well

          • Johan

            So what is your view on that?

            As for spam, there are many different definitions for it. I see that you have your own as well. Marketers have their own definitions too. They say many different things, but it always comes down to: “what we do isn't spam”.

            Ultimately, all that matters is what the public thinks and how they are going to feel about receiving it. In my view, all one-to-many messages sent over a one-to-one medium, will be perceived as spam. Marketers go to great lengths to “personalize” their one-to-many messages, to make it look more like a one-to-one message, but I don't think people are fooled by that anymore. Even the most gullible can only be fooled so many times.

          • Walter Pike

            Hi Johan

            My view on what?

            My definition of SPAM is the commonly accepted one, an unsolicited bulk commercial message… .

            Under that definition a poster and almost all other “legitimate advertising” messages are SPAM. I didnt opt in to having a picture of the local candidate interrupting my view of the street pole.

            These messages were in fact not commercial, so they don't fall into that definition but they certainly were unsolicited. By point here is about how well they were used and my contention is that although they may have irritated it was a minor irritation in the context of an election campaign.

          • JdT2007

            If it is not illegal, then it should be. The constitution does not give political parties any special permission to violate people's right to privacy.

            I have never thought of street pole posters as spam, and I doubt many others would think of it as spam either. But I think it would be unreasonable of you to want to ban posters in your street – not everyone feels the same about this, and others might want to be informed by posters. But your *personal* cell phone is very different, obviously.

            The point is different people have different wishes when it comes to their privacy. Some value it, while others don't care. The constitutions says that we should have a right to choose. Sadly, the DA does not respect that part of our constitution. This is why it is so much more than a “mild iretation”, and why I can no longer vote for the DA.

          • Walter Pike

            Johan, Spam is an unsolicited bulk commercial message. Ok strictly speaking election messages are not commercial but for the sake of argument.

            Nearly all advertising is unsolicited most is commercial – it is therefore all SPAM.

            But go listen to my friend Paul on 702 after 10 tonight he will give you the legal view, and I have little doubt that it's all illegal.

            I really dont care whether you voted or not, but your logic just doesn't work. It's selective – you either rebel against interruption marketing or you don't it's all SPAM

            I sincerely hope however that you have reported at least the ANC, DA and freedom front aswe know they all did the same.

            For me I hate SPAM but would I take your extreme reaction – not in the slightest.