The Central Government has released a draft of the advertising code according to which celebrity endorsements through posts, personal tweets, blogs, or other testimonials must be based on either adequate information about or experience with the service or product being endorsed.
As per the code, any disclaimers in small font sizes in advertisements and comparative advertising which is not factual will treated as misleading ads and can be penalized.
The guidelines on advertising have been prepared by the Consumers Affairs Ministry under the Consumer Protection Act and have been put in the public domain b for the comments from stakeholders.
• The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has drafted the advertising Code under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
• While the guidelines proposed touch upon- comparative advertising; imitation advertising; surrogate advertising; bait advertising; puffery in advertising; it will also include the brand endorsers.
• Advertisers and their agencies will now have to be more watchful of the violations.
• Abiding by the ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) Code was voluntary but as these guidelines are now part of the CPA, it will make them enforceable.
Why there is a need for an advertising code?
The advertising code released by the Central Government aims at curbing unfair trade practices such as misleading claims made by the advertisers.
It will hold the service providers, manufacturers, advertising agencies as well as the brand endorsers accountable for any form of misleading claims. Once notifies, these provided guidelines will cover ‘all advertising and marketing communications regardless of its form, format or medium’.
What are the problems with the released guidelines?
As per the Co-Chairman and CEO at 82.5 Communications, Kapil Arora, the guidelines need to be more specific about the new aspects of promotions on social media such as influencer marketing.
He adds that whether these guidelines cover the influencer marketing which has been recently exploded, remains to be seen.
Managing Partner at Bang in the Middle, Prathap Suthan adds that just about anything that has been written in this document can be questioned. And everything can also be cleverly misinterpreted.