Sucheta Dalal :ASCI tightens norms for auto and F&B ads
Sucheta Dalal

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ASCI tightens norms for auto and F&B ads  

April 16, 2010

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), the apex self-regulatory body that observes advertising content, has introduced additions to the codes for advertising of automotive vehicles and foods and beverages (F&B). The addition is directed at depicting safe, secure and healthy practices in advertisements.


“The additions to the ASCI advertising code is in line with the swift changes happening in the Indian advertising and marketing world. The recent set of guidelines for automotive vehicles and F&B seeks to make advertising content safer and healthier for the general public,” said Alan Colaco, secretary general of ASCI.


He also added that the number of complaints concerning automotive and F&B ads had risen, which resulted in ASCI tightening norms.


Earlier, there were no rules for automobile advertisements. But due to the recent changes in the automotive industry in India and its depiction to the potential viewer, ASCI has added fresh rules.


The recently-introduced guidelines for automotive vehicles’ advertising prohibit the portrayal of violation of traffic rules in any manner, showing reckless speed or manoeuvrability that could harm the driver, passengers or general public. The code is directed at promoting safe practices such as wearing of helmets, fastening of seatbelts and not using mobile phones while driving.


The code also discourages ads that show stunts or actions without a readable cautionary message on the potential dangers of the stunt.


“ASCI realises that cutthroat competition among products and the need for uniqueness can sometimes lead to senseless exaggeration and depiction of unsafe practices,” Mr Colaco added.


The code addendum on F&B advertising disallows advertisements from depicting personal changes in intelligence, physical ability or exceptional recognition unless scientifically substantiated.


It also adds that nutritional and health-benefit claims in F&B advertisements must have a substantiated scientific backing, including those ads for food products nutritionally designed as a meal replacement.


The recent addition in the F&B code also specifies that messages in ads to children must accurately portray the products in a manner that is in keeping with the child’s ability to understand the message. The code stresses on the importance of parental care and guidance in making the right choice for children.


The F&B code also prohibits advertisements and promotions from portraying over-consumption in any way. It also prohibits visual F&B presentation to be any different from its actual material characteristics. — Aaron Rodrigues

-- Sucheta Dalal