Subhash Kamath elected ASCI Chairman

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on September 14, 2020

Subhash Kamath

Industry body to step up focus on digital platforms

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) believes that the recently proposed government guidelines to check on misleading ads are in sync with its advertising code. The self-regulatory industry body will also be stepping up focus on digital platforms to check on misleading claims, as the country grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic.


Subhash Kamath, Chief Executive Officer at BBH & Publicis Worldwide, India, who was unanimously elected as ASCI’s new Chairman on Thursday, pointed out that in many countries such as the US, the UK and Australia, government regulators and self-regulatory bodies have been working alongside successfully.

"We don’t see any conflict with the CCPA (Central Consumer Protection Authority) guidelines. The objectives of CCPA and ASCI’s codes are in sync with each other, which is to focus on protecting consumer interest and ensure responsible advertising. We have successfully partnered with various government authorities such as Consumer Affairs Ministry and I&B Ministry in the past and we will continue to work with them," Kamath told BusinessLine.

He added that while CCPA's draft guidelines primarily focus on misleading advertisements, ASCI’s advertising codes and guidelines is a broader framework that also focuses on issues concerning honest representations of products, fairness in competition, ensuring ads are non-offensive to public and to curb promotion of harmful products. With the government recently constituting the Central Consumer Protection Authority, self-regulation will be even more crucial in promoting consumer confidence and trust, he added.

As the advertising industry and consumer engagement dynamics are rapidly evolving with the emergence of digital platforms, Kamath said ASCI will focus on newer initiatives, keeping in view, this digital transformation of the industry. “With nearly 30 per cent of the overall ad spends now being put on digital platforms, ASCI’s focus on digital platform will further increase,” he added.

“Recently, ASCI ramped up proactive monitoring of advertisements across 3,000 digital platforms and sites, in certain categories such as food and beverages and education. This will gradually expand to other categories.,” he said.

ASCI has also been actively monitoring Covid-19-related claims to ensure brands are not taking undue advantage of consumers’ vulnerability, Kamath said. As per the self-regulatory code, advertisers are bound to substantiate their claims.

"We will also look at how we can use technology to have mechanisms for quicker redress of consumer complaints and guide our industry on responsible advertising. With great creative power comes great responsibility and the industry’s power to influence is growing across digital and social platforms, and ASCI will continue to play a strong role in this space,” he added.

Published on September 10, 2020

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