The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has launched an endorse due diligence service.
The paid advisory will help endorsers abide by the ASCI code laid down in the Consumer Protection Act (2019).
The service will offer ASCI’s expertise in advertising assessment, including technical claims that are part of the advertisement. ASCI has established a panel of experts from more than 20 disciplines, ranging from advertising regulation and legal, ayurveda, microbiology, electronics, market research, nutrition, dentistry, product formulations, financial services, and so on.
The advertisements can be sent to ASCI at any stage, including pre-production.
The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 provides for the imposition of fines or even prohibiting the endorser of a false or misleading advertisement from making an endorsement of any product or service for a period, which may extend to one year.
Subhash Kamath, chairman, ASCI, said, "Endorsers, particularly celebrities have a huge fan following and they enjoy the trust of millions of consumers. There is therefore a direct moral and now, legal responsibility that they bear to ensure that they do not make representations in ads that could be considered misleading. ASCI has always required celebrities to be mindful of what they endorse in advertisements, and now the law too, requires them to do due diligence in this regard.”
Manisha Kapoor, secretary general, ASCI, added, “Endorsers may not always be experts when it comes to the products they push and the claims they make. The law makes endorsers liable for the advertisements they appear in, hence endorser due diligence becomes a critical need. ASCI’s service that is speedy, confidential, and based on the assessment of a multi-disciplinary panel can help endorsers do their due diligence in a timely and comprehensive manner, ensuring that consumers are not misled and that the endorser too, fulfills their legal obligations."