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Ad watchdog issues endorsement guidelines for celebrities

LiveMint logoLiveMint 14-04-2017 Saumya Tewari

New Delhi: The advertising industry watchdog Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has issued a set of guidelines for celebrities endorsing products.

“Celebrities should do due diligence to ensure that all description, claims and comparisons made in the advertisements they appear in or endorse are capable of being objectively ascertained and capable of substantiation and should not mislead or appear deceptive,” ASCI said.

The regulator also highlighted that it is the duty of the advertiser and the advertising agency to ensure that celebrities are aware about the ASCI code.

As per the guidelines, celebrities can be people from the field of entertainment and sports and would also include other well-known personalities like doctors, authors, activists and educationists who get compensated for appearing in advertising.

ASCI also banned celebrities from appearing in any advertisement of a product or treatment or remedy that is prohibited for advertising under The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act (Objectionable Advertisements) and the Drugs & Cosmetic Act. They are also prohibited from endorsing products which by law require a health warning on its packaging or advertisement.

The regulator stated that if the celebrity either directly or through the concerned advertiser or agency chooses to seek advice from ASCI on whether the advertisement potentially violates any provisions of the ASCI code or not , she would be considered as having completed due diligence.

“However, ASCI’s advertising advice will not be construed as pre-clearance of the advertisement,” it added.

“Celebrities have a strong influence on consumers and are guided by the choices they make or endorse. It’s important that both celebrities and advertisers are cognizant of the impact and power of advertising and therefore make responsible claims to promote products or services. It is in the interest of advertisers / ad agencies as well as celebrities to be aware of these guidelines and be sensitized to this issue to avoid violations,” said Srinivasan K. Swamy, chairman, ASCI, in a statement.

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