While informing celebrities and advertisers to refrain from endorsing misleading advertisements, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has issued a set of guidelines to protect consumers’ interests.
At a time when the Consumer Affairs Ministry is wanting to review the Consumer Protection Act and may insert a provision to deal with misleading advertisements featuring celebrities, these guidelines by ASCI could serve as a good reference for advertisers.
For the purpose of this guideline, Celebrities are those people who are from the field of entertainment and sports and would also include other well-known personalities like doctors, authors, activists, educationists, etc. who get compensated for appearing in advertising.
All advertisements featuring celebrities should ensure that it does not violate any of the ASCI code in letter and spirit. Celebrities are expected to have adequate knowledge of these codes and it is the duty of the advertiser and the agency to make sure that the celebrity they wish to engage with is briefed of the guidelines.
Celebrities should do due diligence to ensure that all description, claims and comparisons made in the advertisements they appear in or endorse are capable of being objectively ascertained and capable of substantiation and should not mislead or appear deceptive.
They should not participate in any advertisement of a product or treatment or remedy that is prohibited for advertising under:
The Drugs & Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act 1954 as updated from time to time or The Drugs & Cosmetic Act 1940 and Rules 1945: (Schedule J) as updated from time to time or a product which by law requires a health warning, “…..is injurious to health” on its packaging or advertisement.