The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) witnessed a 14 per cent rise in complaints during the April-September period this year, compared to the same period last year. The self-regulatory industry body processed 3,340 complaints made against 2,764 advertisements that were in potential violation of the ASCI code. About 55 per cent of these ads were in the digital domain, followed by 39 per cent in print and 5 per cent on television, it said on Wednesday.

“As compared to 2021-22, ASCI saw a 14 per cent rise in the number of complaints while witnessing a 35 per cent increase in the number of ads processed,” it added.

Education emerged as the most violative sector with nearly 27 per cent of complaints pertained to education-related advertising. Of these, 22 per cent belonged to the classical education category while 5 per cent were from the edtech sector.

“Personal care (14 per cent), food & beverages (13 per cent), healthcare (13 per cent) and gaming (4 per cent) were the other key sectors receiving a higher number of complaints. ASCI’s surveillance remains strong, picking up 65 per cent of the ads processed suo motu,” it added.

Digital monitoring

Manisha Kapoor, CEO and Secretary-General, ASCI, said, “Looking at the rapid growth of digital advertising, we have invested heavily in ad-surveillance technology. We will continue to upgrade and streamline our processes to provide a more responsive platform to all stakeholders, including consumers, brands and government bodies.”

She added that 98 per cent of complaints were received by the artificial-intelligence-based management system TARA.

While 16 per cent of the complaints recorded was from consumers, 15 per cent was from the government, and 3 per cent was intra-industry complaints.

“Of the 2,764 potentially objectionable ads processed, 32 per cent were not contested by the advertisers, 59 per cent further were found in violation of the ASCI code and 8 per cent were found not to be violating the code,” ASCI stated.

Non-disclosures by social media influencers continued to dominate the complaints received. Of the complaints received, 28 per cent was found to violate ASCI’s influencer guidelines. Of the 781 complaints processed against influencers, 34 per cent was in the personal care category, 17 per cent in food and beverage, and 10 per cent in the virtual digital assets category.

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