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Government issues new guidelines to prevent misleading ads, bans surrogate advertising

According to the guidelines, advertisements for junk foods, including chips, carbonated beverages and such other snacks and drinks shall not be advertised during a programme meant for children or on a channel meant exclusively for children

The Consumer Affairs Ministry has issued guidelines to prevent misleading advertisements which will come into effect immediately.

The guidelines will be applicable to advertisements published on all platforms like print, television and online. Action against violation of the new guidelines will be taken as per the provisions of the Central Consumer Protection Act (CCPA).

Surrogate advertising banned

According to the new guidelines, surrogate advertising has also been prohibited.

“No surrogate advertisement or indirect advertisement shall be made for goods or services whose advertising is otherwise prohibited or restricted by law, by circumventing such prohibition or restriction and portraying it to be an advertisement for other goods or services, the advertising of which is not prohibited or restricted by law,” stated the guidelines.

“ An advertisement shall be considered to be a surrogate advertisement or indirect advertisement if such advertisement indicates or suggests directly or indirectly to consumers that it is an advertisement for the goods, product or service whose advertising is prohibited or restricted by law. Such advertisement uses any brand name, logo, colour, layout and presentation associated with such goods, product or services whose advertisement is prohibited or restricted,” the guidelines further read.

Guidelines for advertising targeted to Children

The guidelines mentioned that advertising targeted at children shall not, encourage, inspire or unreasonably emulate behaviour that could be dangerous for children. It also warns against the exaggerating features of products that will set unrealistic expectations in the minds of children. The guidelines further warn against claims like consumption of a product advertised shall have an effect on enhancing intelligence or physical ability or bring exceptional recognition without any valid substantiation or adequate scientific evidence.

Apart from this, advertisements for junk foods, including chips, carbonated beverages and such other snacks and drinks shall not be advertised during a programme meant for children or on a channel meant exclusively for children.

Due diligence

The guidelines further mentioned the duties of various stakeholders like manufacturers, service providers, advertisers as well as advertising agencies in engaging with due diligence and research. Apart from this the guidelines also deal with issues like bait advertising or ‘free claims’.

The guidelines can be accessed here: https://consumeraffairs.nic.in/sites/default/files/file-uploads/latestnews/CCPA%20Notification.pdf

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