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    India to formulate advertising code

    Synopsis

    Recently, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a voluntary self-regulatory organisation found 50 ad campaigns by ayurveda and homoeopathic drug makers offering a cure for Covid-19 in April alone. While the council flagged these misleading claims to the union government for action, it does not have the power to take any action against these advertisers on its own.

    PTI
    Earlier this week, the Ministry of Ayush barred Patanjali Ayurveda from advertising Coronil, a drug which Patanjali claimed cures Covid-19, but hasn't been approved by the ministry or the drug regulator, citing the provisions of Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954.
    NEW DELHI: The ministry of consumer affairs is preparing a code of conduct for advertisers, setting guidelines for brands and advertising agencies for the first time in India. The move is aimed at curbing unfair trade practices such as misleading claims made by advertisers.

    "An advertising code is a necessity, especially at a time like this when several advertisers are claiming to have developed a cure for Covid-19," said an official working on the initiative.

    Recently, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a voluntary self-regulatory organisation found 50 ad campaigns by ayurveda and homoeopathic drug makers offering a cure for Covid-19 in April alone.

    While the council flagged these misleading claims to the union government for action, it does not have the power to take any action against these advertisers on its own.

    The proposed advertising code will also lay out penalties for advertisers, their agencies and publishers in case of misleading advertising and false claims.

    The advertising code will be drafted by the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 that seeks to widen its scope in addressing consumer concerns.

    A recent survey by LocalCircles, a consumer community platform, found that consumers want advertisements to be regulated by a government body instead of a self-regulatory industry body. Only 28 percent of the participants in the survey said they trust the claims made in ad campaigns.

    Earlier this week, the Ministry of Ayush barred Patanjali Ayurveda from advertising Coronil, a drug which Patanjali claimed cures Covid-19, but hasn't been approved by the ministry or the drug regulator, citing the provisions of Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954.

    "Several other misleading ads may not fall under this provision and hence and advertising code is needed," said the official.

    Consumers have reported frequent cases of content of ads being misleading and LocalCircles conducted an 8-poll survey to do a pulse check on the issue. The survey received more than 67,000 votes from 220+ districts of the country.

    Only 3% consumers said they had a high level of trust in are in print, TV, digital and other forms of media while 25% said they had an average level trust in ads. Around 48% said low and 23% said they had zero trust in advertisements.

    According to the survey, consumers said they find most frequent misleading ads in the cosmetic products, followed by real estate, ecommerce sites and apps, health care and banking and financial services. Around 15 percent also said ads for food products and supplements are also misleading.

    Around 76 percent of consumers also want restrictions on surrogate advertising.
    (Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

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    3 Comments on this Story

    Joe 89 days ago
    Will the ASCI, stop the Add's to curb the WOMEN's fairness creams and take action against the MNC/FMCG companies.
    Vidyut Rautela89 days ago
    Will that also be applicable to rampant 'mf ache hain' ads ? just wondering...
    middle class89 days ago
    Everyone knows the Political backing of Baba Ramdev nothing is going to happen law will be changed to accommodate him.
    The Economic Times