IBF sets norms on surrogate advertising

NEW DELHI: The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), an apex body of broadcasting companies operating in India, is of the opinion that all advertisers of brand extension products (especially where it concerned alcohol companies) should be asked to provide a certificate to the broadcasters stating that the products were genuine and were being sold through established marketing networks in India in sufficient quantities to warrant advertising on television.

The IBF sub-committee, which went into the issue of surrogate ads related to tobacco and alcohol, also felt that any real product or services (non alcoholic/non tobacco), which have wide distribution in the market through established distribution networks "should not be denied speech even if the product or service shares a brand name with a liquor or tobacco product or a company."

Still, in the same vein, the IBF has said that where there is a TV ad which mentions a liquor/tobacco brand or a company without promoting a real (non-alcoholic, non-tobacco) product or service, it will be deemed to be "indirect advertising for liquor/tobacco and will not be permissible."

In a document that has been prepared by the IBF to act as a guideline, as part of self-regulation where advertisements regarding alcoholic beverages were concerned, it has been stated that the "Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverages Companies (CIABC) has already drafted a certificate and given it to all its members."

The IBF has also decided that the organisation's secretariat would study the self-regulatory practises relating to tobacco around the world, specifically the self-regulatory code of the American tobacco giant Phillip Morris.

The sub-committee, under Zee group broadcasting chief executive Sandeep Goyal, which went into the issue of surrogate advertising relating to alcohol, has also decided that there was no justification available for radico Khaitan 8 pm Apple juice ad and it should not be carried. An official IBF document, a copy of which is available with indiantelevision.com, also states, "It was also decided that the ACP Black Apple juice ad (where the punchline is "kuch bhi ho sakta hai") was in bad taste and should not be broadcast by the members of the IBF in its current form."

However, indiantelevision.com learns that the ad concerned is still being aired on some channels where cricket and fashion rule supreme.

The members of the IBF have also suggested that every time there is a rejection of any ad by a member broadcaster of the IBF, the secretariat should be informed about the development.

"This will assist in coordinating the activities relating to surrogate advertising or brand extension. Similarly the ads that are selected for broadcasting relating to brand extension should be listed and the IBF secretariat should be informed of the same," the IBF paper states.

The IBF's moves come in the wake of show cause notices which had been issued by a government panel, headed by Anil Baijal, additional secretary (broadcasting) in the information and broadcasting ministry, to several TV channels over the past two months over surrogate liquor and tobacco ads.

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