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Healthcare violations top chart: ASCI Complaints Report

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), emphasizing 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represents a 22% increase over the previous year. 35% of the total ads processed were not contested and were promptly withdrawn or modified. A further 47% of ads were found violative of the ASCI Code and the advertisements were recommended to be withdrawn or modified.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 organization’s proactive approach to identifying potential violations.

Here are some key findings from the report:

Digital Dominance

 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, of 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 recognize the breaches and commit to more responsible advertising.”

Find the entire report here

Source: Social Samosa

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