What is surrogate advertising and why did the government ban it?

New government guidelines, which ban substitute advertising, will affect tobacco and alcohol brands the most. Here’s what the change means

In India, alcohol and tobacco products cannot be openly advertised. Representative image/AFP

A new set of government guidelines ban surrogate advertising and require celebrities to disclose any involvement in companies and brands they endorse. The rules aim to target misleading advertisements.

The move comes following a controversy over a perfume ad that has been criticized for encouraging sexual violence against women. While the Center ordered the ad to be suspended, new guidelines were issued on June 10 by the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA). Notified by the Department of Consumer Affairs, the “Guidelines for the Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022” apply to advertisements on all media platforms, including television, print and online .

What do the new guidelines say?

The guidelines imposed a complete ban on surrogate advertising. They also aim to solve the problem of misleading advertisements and endorsements shown during programs aimed at children.

The rules do not specify what counts as misleading advertising. However, they define non-misleading ads as those with a “truthful and honest portrayal.”

The guidelines seek to disqualify ads that promote practices that may impact children’s mental or physical health – ads that suggest children are ‘likely to be ridiculed or become less popular’ if they don’t don’t buy the products.

What are Alternative Ads?

These are endorsements in which a property cannot be openly advertised. By often using celebrities to promote their brands, advertisers use subtle messages without naming the real product.

In India, alcohol and tobacco products cannot be openly advertised. Laws such as the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003 prohibit direct and indirect advertising of tobacco products.

Now, Clause 6 of the CCPA Notice prohibits direct and indirect substitution advertising. However, it does not define “brand extension”, which has been used to endorse a different product using a brand name for the sale of tobacco and alcohol.

Often alcohol companies advertise mineral water and tobacco products are sold as breath fresheners. Liquor companies use music CDs, short films, and major music festivals for promotions during brand extensions. For example, the tobacco brand Red & White promotes a bravery award and the whiskey brand Bagpiper promotes sodas and CDs.

However, influencer marketing and promotions on social media continue, according to a report by money control. Bollywood biggies like Priyanka Chopra, Anushka Sharma, Amitabh Bachchan and Ranveer Singh have endorsed products like Rajnigandha Silver Pearls flavored pan masala and Kamla pan masala that don’t qualify as “substitute advertisements,” he says.

In April, actor Akshay Kumar stepped down as brand ambassador Vimal Elaichi after facing backlash for endorsing a brand of pan masala. The announcement posted on the brand’s YouTube channel showed stars Shah Rukh Khan and Ajay Devgn chewing “elaichi” with the slogan “Bolo zubaan kesari” playing in the background.

Explained What is Substitute Advertising and Why the Government Banned It

Liquor companies use music CDs, short films, and major music festivals for promotions. Image Courtesy: @nh7dotin/Instagram

What about advertisements for children?

According to Article 8 of the new guidelines, an advertisement for junk food, including crisps, soft drinks and other snacks and beverages must not be advertised during a children’s program or on a channel intended exclusively for children.

However, it does not specify what qualifies as junk food. The industry body Advertising Standards Council of India joined forces with the food regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in 2016 and drafted guidelines that advertisements which by their nature required health warnings on their packaging or were not intended to target minors should not appear. personalities from the world of sport, music and cinema, reports money control.

How have advertisers reacted?

Alcohol and tobacco brands are likely to be the most affected by the new guideless.

Big alcohol branders like United Breweries and Bacardi are asking the government for clarification on what qualifies as “surrogate advertising”. They want to know if there will also be a ban on endorsements that included phrases such as “responsible drinking and warnings such as ‘don’t drink or drive’.”

Brands put their names and logos on water bottles and music festivals for surrogate advertising. However, some of these products also exist on their own. Advertisers want to know if the promotion of these items and events will also be prohibited.

“We are discussing with the government what defines substitute advertising and valid brand extensions. If a sweeping crackdown on all extensions with the same brand name as an alcohol brand was in place, Kingfisher Airlines could never have been launched,” said Vinod Giri, Managing Director of Confederation of Indian Corporations of alcoholic beverages. The economic period.

With contributions from agencies

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