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ASCI bags Best Practices Silver Award for National Advertising Monitoring Service

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NEW DELHI: The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), which is recognised by the government as the primary body for checking misleading commercials, has bagged the Best Practices Silver Award for establishing a National Advertising Monitoring Service on the print and TV ads.

The award was given at the European Advertising Standards Alliance‘s (EASA) annual meeting held in Milan, Italy. The EASA Best Practice Award is presented each year to the self-regulatory organisation that has most effectively implemented an element of the EASA Best Practice Model-a set of operational standards for advertising standards bodies.

ASCI chairman Arvind Sharma said, "ASCI through NAMS has done path breaking work in tracking down and removing ads which make misleading, false or unsubstantiated claims. And the EASA Best Practice Silver award is recognition by the global ad self regulatory organisations (SRO) that ASCI not only follows global best practices but also helps in innovating new ones."

He added: "This recognition encourages us to further strengthen the professional and ethical standards in the ad industry to ensure responsible advertising and thereby protect the interests of the consumers."

Proactive monitoring of NAMS on the print and TV ads has helped in tracking a large number of misleading ads and the number of ads against which complaints were received and processed by ASCI went up almost five times from 177 in 2011-2012 to 784 in 2012-2013.

ASCI is a self-regulatory voluntary organisation of the advertising industry. ASCI along with its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) deal with complaints regarding advertisements which are considered as false, misleading, illegal, leading to unsafe practices or unfair to competition and consequently in contravention of the ASCI Code for self-regulation in Advertising. They receive complaints both from the consumers and the industry.

In May 2012, ASCI introduced NAMS in order to strengthen the process of tracking and reducing misleading advertisements which harm the interests of consumers. NAMS which comprises of the AdEx India, a division of TAM Media Research and with the support of trained personnel from the ASCI keeps a continuous check on all the newly released TV and Newspaper print ads to see that they are not violating any ASCI‘s advertisement code related to unsubstantiated, misleading or false claims.

On an average, 1,500 TV and 45,000 newspaper ads are monitored monthly. If after persistent reminders, certain ads are not altered and are still being aired in the same manner, then the ASCI reports this to the relevant statutory authorities for action.

In order to fasten the decision making process and to handle the recent jump in the number of complaints received and processed, the ASCI introduced the Consumer Complaint Council (CCC) and appointed Shweta Purandare as chief operations officer (COO) to drive the investigation of complaints besides heading the complaint redressal and follow up process. The meetings are being conducted every week instead of every fortnight so as to reduce the average complaint adjudication time.

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