ASCI warns celebrities against misleading advertisements, lays down guidelines for endorsements
Celebrities must do due diligence and ensure that the claims made in their endorsements are not misleading, advertising watchdog Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) said.
Releasing the guidelines for celebrity endorsement, ASCI said that the advertiser company and the agency should make the concerned celebrity aware about the advertising codes.
"Celebrity 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," the ad regulator said.
Besides celebrities, the ASCI has also covered well-known personalities like doctors, authors, activists, educationists, who get compensated for appearing in advertising in the celebrities guidelines. "It is the duty of the advertiser and the agency to make sure that the celebrity they wish to engage with is made aware of them (ASCI codes)," it said.
Moreover, the regulator has also banned the celebrities from endorsing "any advertisement of a product or treatment or remedy that is prohibited for advertising" under the Drugs & Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act and the Drugs & Cosmetic Act.
It also prohibits celebrities from appearing in any ad in which "a product which by law requires a health warning is injurious to health" on its packaging or advertisement.
However, it also said that if a celebrity seeks advice directly or through the agency from ASCI on whether the advertisement potentially violates any provisions of the ASCI code or not, then the he 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.
Commenting on the development ASCI Chairman Srinivasan K Swamy said, "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."
He further added, "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."