The government has directed advertising agencies to ensure strict compliance with the guidelines for the prevention of misleading advertisements and their endorsements, especially the provisions pertaining to surrogate advertisements.
The Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution has sent a communication to this effect to the Advertising Association of India, Indian Broadcasting Foundation, Broadcasting Content Complaints Council, News Broadcasters and Digital Association, Advertising Standards Council of India, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Confederation of Indian Industry, ASSOCHAM, International Spirits & Wines Association of India, and the Indian Society of Advertisers.
The Department cautioned the advertisers’ associations that failure to ensure strict compliance with the guidelines by the concerned parties would lead to the CCPA taking suitable stern action against the violators. The Department said it has been noticed that these guidelines are not being strictly complied with by the concerned entities and the prohibited goods are still being advertised through surrogate goods and services. During the recent sports events that were televised globally, many instances of such surrogate advertisements were noticed.
It has been observed that many alcoholic spirits and beverages are being advertised under the garb of music CDs, club soda and packaged drinking water whereas chewing tobacco and gutkha has taken the veil of fennel and cardamom.
Moreover, many such brands are employing major celebrities that accentuate the negative impact on the impressionable youth among others. Several instances of direct advertisement of alcoholic beverages on social media platforms have also been observed by the Department.
Many such brands are employing major celebrities that accentuate the negative impact on impressionable youth, among others The guidelines are applicable to a manufacturer, service provider, or trader whose goods, products, or services are the subject of an advertisement