Celebrities must ensure claims in ads not misleading: ASCI

Hoarding Photo: Suryakant Niwate
Celebrities from entertainment and sports endorsing products will have to take due diligence to ensure that claims made in advertisements featuring them do not mislead people. According to the draft guidelines by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI).

ASCI in its guidelines for celebrities in advertising, however, did not include business leaders, religious leaders, politicians, government functionaries, bureaucrats and other well-known personalities like doctors, authors, activists and educationists in the definition of brand ambassadors.

“Celebrities for the purpose of this guideline are those people who are from the field of entertainment and sports,” it said. Advertisements featuring celebrities need to doubly ensure that claims made in it are not misleading, false or unsubstantiated so as not to harm the interests of the consumers, especially for products or services which can cause serious financial and physical loss, the draft guidelines said.

Putting the onus on celebrities, it added: "Celebrity should do due diligence to ensure that all description, claims and comparisons made in the advertisements they appear in or endorse are capable of being objectively ascertained and capable of substantiation and should not mislead or appear deceptive."

All such ads endorsed by celebrities should ensure it does not violate any of the ASCI code in letter and spirit and the advertiser and the ad agency should make sure about it. "Celebrities are expected to have adequate knowledge of these codes and it is the duty of the advertiser and the agency to make sure that the celebrity they wish to engage with is made aware of them," the draft guidelines said.

Moreover, testimonials, endorsements or representations of opinions or preference of celebrities must reflect genuine, reasonably current opinion of the individuals making such representations, and must be based upon adequate information about or experience with the product or service being advertised.

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