Asci, TAM to monitor misleading ads

MUMBAI: With the government pressing for a new set of guidelines to check misleading ads, Asci, India’s advertising industry watchdog, has swung into action.

The Advertising Standards Council of India said Tuesday it is partnering with TAM Media Research to monitor misleading ads, a move aimed at improving the self-regulatory mechanism by speeding up the processes and compliance of its codes for advertising content.

The newly created body, National Advertising Monitoring Service (NAMS), will come into effect from 1 May.

TAM‘s division, AdEx, will check around 350 TV and 10860 newspaper ads per week.

Set up in Baroda, NAMS will track and assess the ads for compliance with Asci‘s code related to unsubstantiated, misleading or false claims. The need arises even as the number of complaints received by Asci has increased to around 3,000 in 2011-‘12, up from 800 a year ago.

Said Asci chairman I Venkat, “This initiative is a paradigm shift for self regulation in Indian advertising and probably a benchmark for other countries as something like this has never been attempted at this scale anywhere in the world. For such an important and industry central initiative, TAM’s AdEx India was the obvious option to handle such a large responsibility that brought in requisite infrastructure, neutrality, integrity and quality. NAMS will strengthen the ad self regulation Redressal process manifold, as we will be able to proactively monitor wider numbers of ads. This will be in the best interest of the Indian consumers as it will significantly reduce release of misleading advertising in India.”

AdEx will identify ads which are in potential violation of Chapter 1 of Asci code which deals with the truthful and honest nature of ads. AdEx India will monitor ads in the auto, banking, financial services and insurance, FMCG (incl. F&B), consumer durables, educational institutions, health care products & services, telecom and real estate sectors.

TAM Media Research CEO LV Krishnan said, “Our partnership with Asci is yet another reiteration of the neutral role we play within the Indian advertising landscape.”

The scope of work will cover the tracking of more than 30 newspapers (all editions) which contribute to over 80 per cent of national newspaper readership and all TV Channels across the country in all Indian languages. Ads seen as those potentially violating Chapter 1 of Asci code will then be forwarded to Asci on a weekly basis. Asci will then process them as per its normal complaint procedure involving its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) for adjudication.

The CCC meetings will be held twice a month, moving away from its earlier practice of a monthly meeting.Venkat said, “This is another initiative to reduce the gap between the identification of an objectionable ad and when it is actually modified or taken off air.”

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