The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has released its annual complaints report for the period of April 2021 - March 2022.
According to the report, 5,532 ads were processed across print, digital, and television, of which the digital domain saw an overall compliance rate of 94%.
The ads processed in this period were 62% more than the previous year, with a 25% increase in complaints.
48% of the ads processed belonged to the digital medium, with 29% of them being complaints against influencers. Misleading claims in ads featuring celebrities saw a 41% increase, of which 92% were found to violate ASCI’s guidelines.
As per ASCI's AI-based monitoring for digital tracking, 75% of the ads processed were picked up suo-motu.
Apart from this, consumer complaints constituted 21%, followed by intra-industry at 2% and CSO/Government complaints at 2%.
39% of the total processed ads were not contested by the advertiser, with 55% of them being labelled as objectionable after investigation.
However, 4% of the complaints against ads were dismissed as not violating the ASCI code. On the other hand, 94% of ads needed changes, so as not to violate the code.
New categories such as virtual digital assets and online real money gaming, contributed to 8% each of the objectionable ads. The top three violative categories were, however, education at 33%, healthcare at 16% and personal care at 11%.
Subhash Kamath, chairman, ASCI, said, “2021-22 was the year we followed through on our promise of increasingly monitoring the digital media given the way it has been dominating the advertising landscape. We invested heavily in technology and that has worked quite well. We also upgraded our complaints system which has made it very easy for consumers to register their complaints and for advertisers to respond to it. Going ahead, we will continue to be at the forefront in understanding how best to regulate and monitor the digital frontier, even as we keep streamlining our processes to become more responsive, and more proactive.”
Manisha Kapoor, CEO and secretary general, ASCI, said, “The ASCI team, the Consumer Complaints Council, the Honourable ex-high court judges on our review panel, and our domain experts have debated the nuances of advertising and scientific evidence of thousands of ads to ensure that the process and outcomes are fair to both consumers as well as advertisers. Simultaneously, the constant update to our code ensures that we constantly offer guidance and transparency to consumers and advertisers on newer and emerging formats and categories. This helps in keeping self-regulation at the frontier of advertising developments.”