Most Indian consumers (75%) feel that children are being misled in many advertisements for apps, gaming and other online services, according to a survey by social community platform Local Circles.

The survey found that 87% consumers have difficulty in reading, viewing and hearing disclaimers while 86% have come across child inappropriate ads in the last one year: 19% said television, 4% said in general video sites like YouTube, while 27% said both TV and YouTube, 2% said newspapers while 34% said all three of the above mediums i.e. television, general video sites and newspapers.

In addition, 75% consumers have come across ads of apps, games and online products/services that were designed to mislead children into spending. When asked if the government should also prohibit advertisements from gaming platforms especially the ones where an individual can earn or lose money (similar to gambling), 77% said yes while only 18% said no.

Google recently removed some fantasy gaming apps, including Paytm's fantasy gaming platform Paytm First Games, stating that the company doesn’t allow online casinos or support unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting.

Many parents have objected to as to how heavy advertising by these fantasy gaming platforms during Indian Premier League has led to children becoming curious and joining such platforms: 77% of the survey respondents want a ban on advertising for fantasy gaming platforms. While some have demanded they be put in the same category as sin products and be permitted surrogate advertising.

Consumers were also asked about the level of trust they have in ads in print, TV, digital and other forms of media. Only 3% said they had a high level of trust while 25% said they had an average level of trust in ads. 48% said low and 23% said they had zero trust in advertisements.

This year a series of advertisements were flagged by the consumers as misleading including products mattresses, sanitizers, fabrics, ready-made garments, juices, bread and even ice cream as immunity building for COVID-19 or fighting the COVID-19 virus.

In August, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs issued a draft for 'Central Consumer Protection Authority (Prevention of the Misleading Advertisements and Necessary Due Diligence of Endorsement of Advertisements) Guidelines, 2020' aimed at preventing unfair trade practices and protecting consumers' interest.

According to a survey conducted by Local Circles on these guidelines, 87% consumers find disclaimers in advertisements difficult to read, view and hear. In addition, 75% consumers had said they had come across celebrity ads which were misleading, while 80% consumers had said ads should be regulated by a government body instead of an industry body which does not have penal powers.

Sourced from Local Circles, Live Mint, ETBrandEquity