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Guidelines around misleading ads; role of brand ambassadors & influencers to be released soon

On day 1 of Goafest, at the ABP Group Industry Conclave, Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary (CA)- Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Food Distribution and Piyush Pandey - Chairman of Global Creative Ogilvy Worldwide & Executive Chairman, Ogilvy India discuss how the industry can navigate creativity as well as ensure responsible advertising

The Government is keeping an active eye on misleading and click-bait advertising, said Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Food Distribution while discussing the state of misleading advertisements in the country at the ‘ABP Group Industry Conclave’ session on day one of Goa Fest 2022.

“Companies and unicorns today are only focusing on customer acquisition and not paying attention to the consumer interest. I personally complained to Ola and Uber recently and said that their algorithms are not fair. There is a larger difference between the fares for a first-time customer and a regular customer. Their algorithms are not fine,” said Singh.

He further said a few guidelines with respect to misleading advertising and the role of brand ambassadors and influencers for the same shall be released in the next 10-15 days.

Singh was speaking at the session alongside Piyush Pandey, Chairman of Global Creative Ogilvy Worldwide and Executive Chairman, Ogilvy India. The session was moderated by Subhash Kamath, Chairman, ASCI.

It must be noted that recently celebrities like Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan have been under fire from the public for engaging in surrogate advertising for tobacco products.

“If you are endorsing a product, even if you don’t know anything about it, you need to have reasonable information about the USPs or the qualities of the product. Celebrities cannot run away; they have to take responsibility” he stated. 

Piyush Pandey, Chairman of Global Creative Ogilvy Worldwide and Executive Chairman, Ogilvy India, said that creativity has its boundaries while discussing the state of misleading advertisements in the country at the ‘ABP Group Industry Conclave’ session on day one of Goa Fest 2022.

Pandey of Ogilvy said, “Creativity has its boundaries. Someone is paying for that product from their pocket, you want to be creative and raise the bar but you cannot jump the boundaries. The very first definition of creativity is seeing that you are not spoiling someone else's life.”

Adding to it, Kamath of ASCI spoke about the sudden burst in the number of influencers and creators today and said one cannot define a celebrity today. He questioned whether all creators can be penalised in the same way as everyone on social media is an influencer today.

“The idea is to keep the consumer protected as much as possible. No one is going to jail for the first offence. There are different levels of penalising, however, if someone is a habitual offender, there will be consequences,” concluded Singh. 

Pandey advised that creative minds, like that of content creators, should be identified, harnessed and motivated. He said brands can invest in them, put them in scenarios and pay them salaries or guide them in their own businesses. “Right now, we are only seeing expression, when this converts into commerce, they will grow, the industry will grow and so will the country.”

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