Surrogate ads: channels given some more time

NEW DELHI: It seems that the various channels have been given some more time by the government to look into the issue of 'objectionable' ads on television channels, including continuing surrogate advertising.

In a related development, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) is slated to meet up with Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC), IMI and advertising industry bodies later this month as part of a continuing process to sort out the irritants.

Contacted by this evening, an IBF source said that it has not received any list from the government or the information and broadcasting ministry of the banned ads that should be taken off the air. But the source admitted that they have compiled the show cause notices that have been issued to some IBF members by the government.

"We are very pro-active in this matter and the sub-committee of IBF on surrogate advertising continually looks into such matters to allay fears of the industry or the government," the source said.

The government had threatened to black out TV channels that did not stop airing objectionable ads and a senior government official had told yesterday, "We understand the channels' commercial commitments and would wait for a fortnight or so for a feedback from them."

Meanwhile, the IBF source said that the organisation was is in touch with CIABC and also non-CIABC players like Jagatjit Industries to sort out the matter of surrogate liquor advertising.

According to the IBF's code, if a liquor company does not have an adequate number of the product that it was trying to project on television available in the market through sufficient distribution outlets, the ads of that company are not accepted by TV channels.

The case of Haywards was cited as an example and how the ads were taken off the air by TV channels when it was found out the market did not have an adequate number of dart boards the company was advertising on TV, the IBF source said. "Apart from the government, the IBF was in the process of finalising its own advertising and programming code, which was an attempt towards voluntary self-regulation," he added.

However, an official response from the government could not be elicited on the list of the objectionable ads that had been issued to the IBF as had been reported in a section of the media.

Still, government sources indicate that the I&B ministry's list of objectionable television commercials includes ACP Apple juice Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai campaign, VIP Jockey, Fair & Lovely, Royal Stag (that incidentally features two cricketers), Aristocrat, Smirnoff, Bagpiper, McDowell's, Gilbey's Green Label, Whitehall, Imperial Blue, Macintosh Apple Juice, Royal Challenge and Smirnoff.

The annual media spend on surrogate advertisements across cable and satellite networks are estimated to be around Rs 900 million.

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