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ASCI launches 'Advertising Advice' service to help brands track potential violations in ads

To help advertisers mitigate the risk of ads being misleading & ensure more responsible advertisin

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Mumbai: In order to aid responsible advertising practices and help brands be more mindful of the claims they make in their campaigns, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has launched an “Advertising Advice” service. The paid service is open to all members and non-members of ASCI, the advertising industry body announced on Wednesday.

It will point out to advertisers and marketers at the campaign planning stage, if their claims could potentially violate any ASCI code or guideline. This will help them to take corrective action at the pre-production phase and will guide them to substantiate the claim and align the creative, basis the ASCI code, the self-regulatory body said in a statement.

For the advertisers, it provides confidential quick expertise to help them make more responsible advertising.  Advertisers will be able to modify claims and depictions at the pre-production stage itself, thus saving them effort, money as well as possible loss of reputation once the advertisement is already in the marketplace. The service aims to help advertisers balance creativity with responsibility and is being offered in line with best global practices followed by different self-regulatory organizations, ASCI said.

The Advertising Advice panel will also include technical experts in different specialties who can examine the claim and evidence for technical claim support. It is important to note that this non-binding service is not intended to be a pre-clearance, and advertisers may use the advice to better their ads in a manner they deem fit, said ASCI.

“As ASCI steps into its next phase, the Advertising Advice service will be a crucial element in the cause of self-regulation. The service gives brands a chance to better prepare their campaigns and mitigate reputational risks,” said ASCI chairman Subhash Kamath. “While there is no guarantee that consumers will not raise a claim against a brand, the advisory does help brands take steps to ensure that their campaigns don’t violate any norms formulated to protect consumer interest. We believe that this advisory service will provide the necessary support to the advertising ecosystem to create more responsible ads without affecting creativity."

ASCI secretary-general Manisha Kapoor said: “The advisory can be used by brands to great effect while planning their campaigns. Brands wish to be competitive and push the boundaries of claims. With this service, we can support advertisers to make strong claims while not crossing the all-important lines of honesty, decency, fairness and safety.”

Kapoor further added that external scrutiny by experts at the pre-production stage can add tremendous value to campaign development, as post release of the campaign, any stoppage can cause significant disruption and cost for an organization. “But by making this a part of the way advertisers think of campaigns at an early stage, such risks can be mitigated. We see this as a win-win for advertisers and consumers, who then get exposed to fewer problematic ads," she said.

The names of technical experts on the advisory panel include Prof Jayesh Bellare (chemical, FMCG), Prof Smita Lele (food and nutrition), Dr Punit Saraogi (dermatology), Dr Rohinton Bilimoria (dentistry) and Dr. D.B. A. Narayana (Ayurveda), shared ASCI.

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