The Department of Consumer Affairs is expected to soon notify guidelines for prevention of misleading advertising under the Consumer Protection Act, a top official said on Thursday. The guidelines will cover all kinds of advertisements, including surrogate ads, and will also put the onus of due diligence regarding claims made in ads on celebrity endorsers. 

Speaking at the sidelines of the Goafest 2022, Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, told BusinessLine, “The guidelines for prevention of misleading advertising for brands will be released in 10-15 days. It’s in the process of final legal approvals.These guidelines will cover many aspects for protection of consumer rights such as what is misleading, what are the rights of the consumer, what is bait advertising, what is surrogate advertising. In addition to this, it will also include celebrity guidelines.” 

Celebrity responsibility

Singh said that the guidelines will outline responsibilities of celebrities in terms of endorsements. 

“Celebrities endorsers must have a reasonable amount of information regarding the product that they decide to endorse. Celebrities cannot just shirk such a responsibility,” he said. 

A draft of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Necessary Due Diligence for Endorsement of Advertisements) had earlier been put for public consultation. 

Mobility app complaints

In response to rising consumer complaints regarding ride-hailing companies, the ministry is also set to meet up with key players on May 10. Singh said that the ministry has begun engagement with these companies and has asked them to come up with disclosures.

“Consumers have the right to know how they are being charged and how their data is being used,” Singh explained. The ministry could also look at setting up standard operating procedures for passengers’ grievance redressal in collaboration with the Ministry of Transportation. 

Post-pandemic growth

Singh was speaking at the Goafest 2022, which has been organised after a hiatus of two years due to the pandemic. 

Kicking-off the festival Anupriya Acharya, President of Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI), said, “ This year, the festival has seen a record number of sponsorships and wider participation.”

Stating that the next decade belongs to India, Acharya noted that despite the pandemic, it was heartening to see that the advertising industry has bounced back strongly. As per estimates, the ad industry is expected to grow at a 12 per cent CAGR till 2024 to touch the ₹1 trillion-mark. The AAAI also launched its new logo at the festival which was crowdsourced. 

Agreeing with Acharya, Vineeta Singh, Co-founder and CEO, SUGAR Cosmetics said in her keynote address, that while the next decade belongs to India, it also belongs to brands that are made in Bharat for Bharat.