True to Claim: New Ad Rules Set Celebrity Guidelines

The central government on Friday notified new guidelines under the Consumer Protection Act in a bid to tackle misleading advertisements. These guidelines require celebrities to disclose their material interest in the product they endorse, prohibit surrogate advertisements, and also establish rules that should govern advertisements involving children or children’s products.

These new Rules on Prevention of Misleading Ads and Approvals for Misleading Ads, 2022 – which came into force with immediate effect – set out the conditions that must be met when running bait or free advertisements. Bait advertising means advertising in which goods, products or services are offered for sale at a relatively low price to attract consumers.

“It has been seen that many times, while offering free offers, companies restrict the same to a few items or impose conditions to take advantage of the offer. This should be discouraged,” the Consumer Secretary said, Rohit Kumar Singh, when releasing the guidelines.

For advertisements involving children or products related to children, the guidelines state categorically that such advertisements must not be such that they develop a negative body image in children or create the impression that the product is better than the food. natural or traditional as the child might be. consuming.

“The advertisements are of great interest to consumers. Under the law, there are provisions to deal with misleading advertisements affecting the rights of consumers. But to make them explicit and clear to the industry, the government has issued guidelines guidelines for fair advertising starting today,” Singh said.

These guidelines will apply to advertisements published on all media platforms, such as print, television and online.

Government and private advertisements will be covered by the new set of rules. “The guidelines define a seller and whoever they are – whether government or private – is covered by the provisions,” Singh said.

Those who violate the new guidelines will be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Central Consumer Protection Act (CCPA).

The guidelines also state that if a manufacturer, service provider, advertiser or advertising agency makes a claim based on independent research or study, it must clearly state the source and date of that independent research, so that consumers are not misled.

Regarding celebrity endorsements, the guidelines state that all celebrities endorsing a product should do their due diligence on the product before agreeing to endorse it.

“Advertising must reflect the genuine and reasonably current opinion of the individual, group or organization making the representation and must be based on adequate information or experience with the goods, products or services identified,” state the instructions.

For transparency of disclaimers in advertisements, the guidelines specify that the company should neither contradict the material claim made in the advertisement nor attempt to hide material information regarding any claim made in it.

“Disclaimers should also be written in the same language as the main ad and should be legible and understandable. For example, in the case of mutual funds, disclaimers are said to be so ‘fast-paced’ that almost no consumer understands them,” said Nidhi Khare, chief commissioner of the Central Consumer Protection Authority. (CCPA) and additional secretary at the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, during the press conference.

Regarding advertisements involving children, the guidelines state that advertisements targeting children must not claim that the consumption of an advertised product will have an effect on the enhancement of intelligence or physical abilities or will bring exceptional recognition without any valid justification or adequate scientific evidence.

Any advertising that exploits children’s susceptibility to charity appeals must explain how their participation will contribute to any charity-related promotion.

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