India’s ad watchdog ASCI amends disclaimer guidelines in advertisements

India’s ad watchdog ASCI amends disclaimer guidelines in advertisements

Mumbai, India – In response to a recent survey stating that 80% of respondents do not notice disclaimers in ads, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has tightened its ‘Guidelines for Disclaimers made in supporting, limiting or explaining claims made in advertisements’.

The ASCI survey was done with 130 consumers, which also revealed that 33% of the respondents could not understand the disclaimers clearly even after adequate exposure time while  62% of them felt that the disclaimers were excessively long.

Moreover, the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) have also observed that the frame of the advertisements containing the disclaimer was ‘very crowded’ and distracted the viewer’s focus.

To address these issues, ASCI has made some amendments to the guidelines, including limiting long and complex disclaimers to two full-length lines only. The disclaimers should also be readable, in a single frame, and must remain on screen for more than four seconds for every line.

Meanwhile, for regulatory requirements where the disclaimer exceeds two lines, additional hold duration should be inculcated. The ASCI also added that all forms of text appearing on screen at any one point in time should likewise be counted calculating the hold duration of disclaimers.

The ASCI has however retained guidelines such as restricting disclaimers from attempting to correct a misleading claim made in an advertisement and attempting to suppress material information with respect to the claim, amongst others.

Manisha Kapoor, CEO and secretary-general at ASCI commented on the amendments, stating, “While ASCI has had disclaimer guidelines since 2016, it was observed that over-use of disclaimers made it difficult for consumers to understand all the information presented in the ad. This is evident from our survey where 80% of consumers did not even notice the disclaimers.”

The ASCI has also previously partnered with K&S Partners to identify unfair trademark practices used by brands.

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