Misleading ads: ASCI expects surge in complaints after portal launch

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on March 20, 2015

Ad regulatory body, govt to process consumer grievances

With the Department of Consumer Affairs launching a website in partnership with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) for consumers to file grievances against misleading advertisements, its Chairman Narendra Ambwani expects to be flooded with complaints.

Under the partnership, ASCI, a self-regulatory body that regulates ad content, will work as an executive arm of the government to receive and process consumer complaints on the GAMA (Grievances Against Misleading Advertisements) portal.

“We are well-known in the marketing and advertising community, but consumers may not be aware of us. They may not know that there is an organisation that looks into complaints against advertisements. So, this partnership with the government will help us create awareness among consumers. In fact, I expect to get a flood of complaints from consumers,” he told BusinessLine. Ambwani believes the portal will give consumers a single consolidated website to raise their concerns as the Department of Consumer Affairs also works closely with non-profit organisations and consumer activists.

Till a few years ago, ASCI used to get only about 200 complaints annually. However, due to growing consumer awareness, it rose to about 100 complaints a month. For instance, last year, ASCI got 6,000 complaints against 2,000 advertisements. It is now in the process of launching an App to help consumers voice their complaints against misleading ads.

ASCI is also looking at initiatives that help making advertisements pre-compliant.

“This is one of the main focus areas for me as the chairman,” he added. Among the other steps that ASCI is taking is the launch of an e-learning programme for companies, advertising and marketing fraternity to increase awareness about ASCI’s code for self-regulation in advertising.

In addition, ASCI is urging members to use its “copy advise service which ensures that specific advertising proposals can comply with ASCI’s code, avoid complaints and promote consumer responsibility among brands. The self-regulatory body will continue to work closely with government bodies and industry stakeholders to ensure ads become honest, safe and fair,” Ambwani added.

Published on March 20, 2015
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