While the nation together fights the coronavirus; the Advertising Standards Council of India also continues its fight against advertising that misleads consumers. With brands messaging around Covid-19 ASCI understandably has been on a strict vigil for any communication that may mislead consumers in the state of a national lockdown.
“In the current situation, ASCI is actively listening to consumers on Social Media and wherever alert citizens are flagging misleading advertisements.” Said Shweta Purandare, Secretary General, ASCI in an exclusive interaction with Medianews4u.
Continuing Purandare said, “Our core team is on top of things and is connected from home. We are looking into every single consumer complaint being received on our website, e-mail and on our WhatsApp number which is +91 7710012345.
On the action that is being taken against the defaulters, Purandare said,“ We are making use of our ‘Suspension Pending Investigation’ (SPI) option for exceptional circumstances, when it appears that an advertisement is in serious breach of the ASCI Code and has the effect of causing public harm.”
Sharing examples of the action taken, Purandare said, “In two such cases, one print advertisement for ‘anti-Corona mattress’ and one TV advertisement for AyurvedicTulsi drops, ASCI has directed the concerned advertiser and media to suspend the advertisement with immediate effect. In both the cases, the advertisers have complied by promptly withdrawing their ads.”
On contravention of the Maharashtra COVID-19 regulation, Purandare said, “For advertisements that are in contravention of the regulation such as the Maharashtra COVID-19 Regulation, 2020, we are also alerting the concerned regulator directly via Social Media to deter misleading advertisements.”
On responsible messaging by brands, Purandare said, “It is unfortunate that some brands are releasing opportunistic communication and are using fear mongering tactics. But such brands are very few and are also facing wrath of consumers and negative publicity.”
Continuing she said, “Majority of the brands have taken upon themselves to help consumers, educate them about the precautions to take and contributing to various initiatives to fight this invisible Coronavirus.”