The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) at its board meeting on 11 September, elected Narendra Ambwani, director, Agro Tech Foods, as chairman.
Benoy Roychowdhury, executive director, HT Media was elected vice-chairman; Shashidhar Sinha, CEO, Mediabrands India was appointed the honorary treasurer.
Other members of the new board of governors are: Hemant Bakshi (Hindustan Unilever), Arvind Sharma (ex Leo Burnett); Dilip Cherian (Perfect Relations), SK Palekar (SP Jain), Jayant Singh (GSK Consumer Healthcare), Subhash Kamath (BBH), Srinivasan Swamy (RK Swamy BBDO),
Rajan Anandan (Google), Shantanu Khosla (P&G), Abanti Sankarnarayanan (CIABC) and I Venkat (Eenadu), Rajiv Dube (Aditya Birla Manangement Corporation).
Outgoing chairman Rakshit said, “Last year has been a very eventful and successful year for us. ASCI’s effective action towards reducing the complaint processing turnaround time to just 12 days has led ASCI to win the prestigious EASA Gold Award for Best Practices. There has also been more than 90 per cent compliance towards the advertisements wherein a complaint against an advertisement was 'upheld'. These advertisements were either withdrawn or have been appropriately modified. In a noteworthy achievement, ASCI issued guidelines on skin lightening and fairness products which ensured that these advertisements do not depict people with dark skin as somehow inferior to those who are fairer. Also recently, government took notice of ASCI’s efforts to curb teleshopping ads that violate ASCI Code and ensured a strict compliance of the advertising code in the Cable Television Networks Act (CTN).”
Ambwani added, “There has been tremendous change in ASCI’s approach towards advertising content and adherence to the ASCI’s guidelines by the advertisers. Earlier, we acted primarily on complaint received from the public or the industry body. In the coming year, we hope to promote ASCI’s guidelines more vigorously among advertisers and creative agencies, so that new ads meet ASCI’s standards at the creative stage itself. We also hope to collaborate strongly with the regulators and consumer groups to ensure fairness and responsibility in advertising.”
ASCI is in the process of creating a system that allows people to lodge complaints via Facebook, and creating a mobile application.