Highlighting the importance of responsible advertising practices and consumer protection, the government on Monday said disclosures must be hard to miss and not mixed with a group of hashtags or links. Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary of Department of Consumer Affairs noted that for endorsements in pictures, disclosures should be superimposed over the image and for endorsements in videos, disclosures should be made in both audio and video formats.
Singh was virtually delivering a keynote address at the #GetItRight Brand Influencer Summit 2023, organised by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) in Mumbai. He added that during live streams, disclosures should be continuously displayed and prominently placed.
He emphasised the duty of manufacturers, service providers, advertisers, and advertising agencies to ensure that their advertisements do not mislead consumers. The keynote address provided valuable insights into the importance of responsible advertising and consumer protection.
Singh highlighted the crucial role of striking a balance between supporting businesses and protecting consumer interests. He echoed the sentiment shared by Prime Minister Modi that both must go hand-in-hand. Singh cited the Consumer Protection Act 2019 passed by the Parliament, which provides protection against misleading advertisements.
He differentiated between good and bad advertisements and stated that the government’s intention is not to obstruct the growth of businesses but rather to ensure ethical standards are met.
There are more than 75 crore internet users in India, of which 50 crore are social media users. The paradigm shift from traditional advertising to social media advertising calls for conducting it responsibly, according to the government.
Singh further noted the need for influencers and celebrities to disclose any material connections with advertisers that may affect the credibility of their representation.
Meanwhile, the government laid down rules last month for social media influencers, which include mention of clear disclosures about brand associations so that there is transparency, in a bid to protect consumers. According to reports, if an influencer does not comply with the rules, they would face hefty penalties going up to Rs 50 lakh. Moreover, in some cases they could be even barred from investing in products for up to six years.