Comparative advertisements which are not factual and are inaccurate with claims that can’t be substantiated by the company would be treated as misleading advertisements according to soon-to-be-released guidelines by the India government.
In addition, all endorsers including celebrities would need to take care that descriptions, claims and comparisons that they endorse are capable of substantiation.
Advertisements containing comparisons with other manufacturers, suppliers, producers or with other products, would be permitted only if the features of the competitor’s product is compared to the features of advertisement of other similar products. “The nature of comparisons has to be factual, accurate and must be capable of being substantiated,” a source told ETBrandEquity.
These would be the first government guidelines for advertisements across all modes of communication under the country’s Consumer Protection Act. These guidelines will be applicable to manufacturers, service providers, advertisement agencies and endorsers.
As per the broad draft guidelines, the proportion of product failures must be within generally acceptable limits and the advertiser would be required to take prompt action to rectify the deficiency. It has also proposed that no advertisement should be similar to other advertisements published by any other advertiser in general layout, copy, slogans, visual presentation, music or sound effect so as to mislead or confuse the consumer.
In tandem with these new guidelines, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has partnered with TAM Media Research to add the monitoring of digital platforms to its National Advertising Monitoring Service (NAMS) for identifying potentially misleading advertisements.
The ASCI will track the food and beverage, healthcare and education sectors on digital media as they accounted for 79% of the complaints processed by the council last year.
Sourced from ETBrandEquity