Digitization and consumer education will be among ASCI’s agenda for 2022
By Manisha Kapoor, Secretary General, ASCI
2021 was a year just as tumultuous as the previous one for everyone. In spite of several challenges, we have seen people around us getting back on their feet and meeting the challenges that came their way, head-on.
During the past year at ASCI, though it was business as usual yet it was a time also for introspection. With an eye on the future, we mapped out key focus areas to work on. We looked at how we can harness available technological advances that enable us to protect consumer interest better, faster and more efficiently. So, as we go ahead in 2022, we clearly identified five things to strategically focus on and deliver to protect consumer rights and make ASCI more efficient
- Digitization: As a future-forward organization, ASCI will look towards building its capacity to monitor media, including print, radio, television and digital through use of advanced technology. While we already monitor social media using AI, we plan to upscale our efforts to effectively monitor and regulate the digital frontier.
- Awareness and education: We believe that aware consumers can aid effective self- regulation. When the consumers are aware of their rights, they can raise their concerns against objectionable and misleading brand communication. ASCI will focus its efforts in educating various stakeholders including students, consumers at large and industry representatives through various collaborations.
- Emerging industries: The digital evolution coupled with the pandemic has given rise to new businesses and industries to emerge. Newer categories such as Edtech, gaming, crypto and NFT investment platforms are thriving, however consumers do not have the requisite domain knowledge. We have noticed that the advertising in these industries is aggressive and could work against consumers’ interests. Going ahead, ASCI will seek to regulate advertising from emerging industries to ensure protection of consumer interests.
- #Getitright initiatives: ASCI is not just a policing or regulating body alone. It also looks to guide advertisers and help shape a more positive and ethical self-regulatory ecosystem. We plan to continue to work on more studies and reports on advertising that can lead to positive and engaging conversations, as well as raise advertising standards across the country. We recently re-introduced the Advertising Advice service that advertisers can avail to check their ads at the pre-production stage. We aim to add more such services for the benefit of the industry.
- Ease of Interaction: While we have a very easy process wherein consumers and brands can approach us with their complaints, we are looking at introducing a system which will make it even more seamless. We will also be introducing a new website and a new AI-based complaints system where consumers can easily register their complaints and track them as well.