ASCI releases Half-Yearly Complaints Report 2023;Healthcare violations top the charts
34% increase in cases processed versus the previous year.
Healthcare emerges as the most violative sector, constituting 21% of all processed ads, followed by classical education and personal care at 18% each
Kolkata November 22, 2023: The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has published its half-yearly complaints report for the period April to September 2023, offering insights into emerging trends and insights in advertising standards.
The report shows a 34% increase in complaints (4491) processed, coupled with a corresponding 27% rise in the number of ads processed (3501), emphasising ASCI’s steadfast commitment to responsible advertising and consumer protection.
Out of 3,501 ads processed, 564 (16%) were flagged as potential direct violations of the law, which represents a 22% increase over the previous year. 35% of the total ads processed were not contested and were promptly withdrawn or modified. A further 47% of ads were found violative of the ASCI Code and the advertisements were recommended to be withdrawn or modified. Only 2% of complaints were dismissed
Of the 3,501 complaints processed, digital media remained the primary source of violations at 79%. Print media and television contributed 17% and 3%, respectively, while other mediums accounted for 2% of the reported violations.
Consumer complaints comprised 21.3% of the total complaints, indicating significant public engagement in upholding advertising standards. 75.4% of complaints were initiated suo-motu by ASCI, demonstrating the organisation’s proactive approach to identifying potential violations.
Here are some key findings from the report:
- Digital Dominance: A whopping 79% of problematic ads were found online, highlighting the challenges in the digital advertising world.
- Regulatory Vigilance: ASCI’s focused monitoring mechanisms boosted digital surveillance to combat objectionable content in the medium. 98% of overall ads processed required some form of modification.
- Voluntary Compliance: In the digital advertising sphere, influencers contributed to 22% of total ads complained against at ASCI. 99.4% of advertisements processed for influencer guidelines were found to be in violation. ASCI received compliance with its recommendations in 92% of influencer cases taken up v/s 86% in previous years, signalling greater compliance with ASCI’s CCC recommendations.
- Healthcare in the Spotlight: Healthcare emerged as the most violative sector, constituting 21% of all ads processed. The surge is attributed to a high volume of drug and medicine advertisements on digital platforms.
- Legal Violations: ASCI observed a significant increase in ads directly violating the Drug and Magic Remedies Act of 1954, leading to the issuance of intimations to advertisers advising withdrawal or modification of the advertisement. ASCI referred 565 advertisements to the Ministry of AYUSH in just six months, compared to 464 ads referred in the last financial year.
Manisha Kapoor, CEO and Secretary-General, ASCI, said,
“ASCI remains committed to addressing the challenges posed by digital advertising. All stakeholders need to come together to tackle the issue of online safety of consumers given that they spend high amounts of time there, and where there is a proliferation of objectionable advertising. Our constant vigilance of the online space helps call out the advertisements and brands that violate the ASCI code requiring ads to be truthful, decent and safe. We hope that the various sectors recognise the breaches and commit to more responsible advertising.”
READ THE FULL REPORT HERE: (CLICK HERE)
About the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI)
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), established in 1985, is committed to the cause of self-regulation in advertising, ensuring the protection of consumer interests. ASCI seeks to ensure that advertisements conform to its Code for Self-Regulation, which requires advertisements to be legal, decent, honest, and truthful and not hazardous or harmful while observing fairness in competition. ASCI looks into complaints across ALL MEDIA such as Print, TV, Radio, hoardings, SMS, Emailers, Internet/website, product packaging, brochures, promotional material and point of sale material etc. In January 2017, the Supreme Court of India in its judgement afﬁrmed and recognised the self-regulatory mechanism as an effective pre-emptive step to statutory provisions in the sphere of advertising content regulation for television and radio in India. ASCI’s role has been acclaimed by various Government bodies including The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA), the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the Ministry of AYUSH as well as the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB). MIB issued an advisory for a scroller providing ASCI’s WhatsApp for Business number 77100 12345, to be carried by all TV broadcasters for consumers to register their grievances against objectionable advertisements.
In August 2023, the ASCI Academy, a flagship program of ASCI was launched to build the capacity of all stakeholders in creating responsible and progressive advertising. ASCI Academy aims to raise standards of advertising content through training, education, outreach, and research on the preventive aspects of advertising self-regulation.
On the international front, in 2023, ASCI CEO and Secretary General, Ms Manisha Kapoor was re-elected as one of the four Vice-Presidents on the Executive Committee of the International Council on Ad Self-Regulation (ICAS). Among several awards bestowed by the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA), ASCI bagged a Gold Global Best Practice Award for the Mobile App “ASCI online” (2016), special recognition for its “Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising”; at the ﬁrst-ever ‘Global Awards for Effective Advertising Self-Regulation’ hosted by the ICAS (2019). In 2021, ASCI also won two ICAS awards, one for the ASCI scroll telecast across television in the ‘Best Awareness Raising Initiative’ and for its extensive digital suo-moto monitoring through the NAMS initiative, in the ‘Special Category’. It also got a special mention in the ‘Best Sectoral Initiative’ category for its efforts and regulatory recognition of its Gaming Guidelines. ASCI received the ICAS Global “Inspiration Award” in April 2023 for successfully promoting ASCI as a thought leader and developing impactful engagement with various stakeholders.