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ASCI takes pro-active initiatives; hires COO

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MUMBAI: With the government and consumer bodies making noises about titillating and misleading TV ads, the Indian advertising industry is working on getting its act together.

Take the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a body which works as the industry watchdog. Today, it announced that it was taking a few measures to ensure that it becomes more effective.

One it said that, it has now started tracking - through National Advertising Monitoring Service (NAMS) - print and TV ads nationally against which complaints are upheld.

And it says it is ready to crack the whip on violators - it has highlighted that it will report them to the relevant statutory authorities, if they choose to ignore its directions and continuing airing ads without removing or changing objectionable portions.

The second initiative it has undertaken is to speed up the decision making process in the face of a spurt in complaints by introducing an additional consumer complaints council (CCC) which will allow weekly meetings instead of the fortnightly cycle as is the norm now. This will further reduce the average complaint adjudication time.

Thirdly, it has appointed Shweta Purandare as chief operations officer (COO) to drive complaint investigation, redressal and follow-up.

"ASCI has been continually innovating to protect the interests of the consumers and all these initiatives are steps towards that," says ASCI chairman Arvind Sharma. "The proactive tracking by NAMS earlier, of all newly released ads in print and TV and now of all upheld complaint ads and reporting non-compliance to statutory bodies is likely to help substantially in moving towards the goal of eradicating misleading ads. Appointment of a COO and an additional CCC will go a long way in ensuring speedier and more effective complaint redressal process."

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