Mumbai, India – In its latest report titled ‘Objectionable ads in the Beauty & Personal Care category and the rising impact of influencer marketing & D2C brands’, ad watchdog for India Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has revealed that the personal care sector has emerged amongst the top three violators.

According to ASCI, the personal care sector contributed to 12% of all objectionable advertisements it examined. The regulatory body processed complaints against 1,126 advertisements in the said sector from 2021 to 2022 and from Q1 to Q3 of 2022 until 2023.

The report has further unveiled that 5.7% of ads in violation of the ASCI Code were from the personal hygiene category, 30.3% from the skincare category, 24.7% from the cosmetics category, 19.4% from hair care, and 17.5% from multiple categories.

Social media influencers were responsible for 68% of the ads processed in the personal care category, out of which 92% violated the ASCI Code and required modifications. Of those, 77% were not contested and the voluntary compliance rate stood at 91%.

Meanwhile, 84% of violative ads belonged to D2C brands, which have a significant presence on social and digital platforms The platform split for violative ads in personal care was also divided amongst Instagram with 55.3%, YouTube with 25.9%, Facebook with 11.3%, and websites with 4.8%.

Speaking about the report, CEO and Secretary General of ASCI Manisha Kapoor said, “Personal care, particularly on digital platforms, is a high engagement space for consumers, and it is important that their interests be protected. Over the past few years, ASCI has constantly strived to update its guidelines to extend consumer protection to many emerging sectors and platforms.”

Kapoor likewise mentioned that the organisation’s AI-based digital monitoring made it possible to efficiently identify violations and drive compliance.

Moreover, the other top two violators mentioned in the report were education at 26% and healthcare at 15%. The launch of influencer guidelines in May 2021 along with ASCI’s AI-based tools has also added to the increased number of ads under scrutiny.

The report follows the amendments in ad disclaimers the ASCI has made last month.

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.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – International Council for Advertising Self-Regulation (ICAS), the global platform for advertising self-regulation, welcomes Malaysia’s independent self-regulatory body for electronic-networked content, Communications and Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia (CMCF), as its new associate member. 

ICAS promotes responsible advertising through effective advertising self-regulation. It collaborates with advertising industry members in developing robust advertising codes of conduct at national level and funds self-regulatory organizations (SROs), which then independently monitor and enforce said codes. ICAS has been managing a network of SROs from North & South America, Australia, and Asia as well as Africa and Europe, and with CMCF, ICAS now has a total of 32 members in its organization. Partnerships also include global affiliations such as World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and International Advertising Association (IAA), as well as experts on global advertising and marketing laws (GALA). 

Malaysia’s CMCF oversees a content code that sets out guidelines and procedures for good practice and standards of content disseminated for public consumption by service providers in the communications and multimedia industry in the country. It operates under the auspices of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission and is comprised of key members in the industry, including broadcasters, advertisers, and content creators, as well as internet access service providers, and civic groups.

Lee Peeler, ICAS President, said, “We at ICAS are delighted to welcome the CMCF to our global network. CMCF’s decision to join ICAS will certainly strengthen our efforts to promote the value of effective self-regulation worldwide, but especially in the Asian Pacific region and its thriving economies.”

“CMCF has regulated content and advertising in Malaysia for two decades and we look forward to learning from them and working together to achieve our objectives and ensure responsible advertising for consumers and businesses across the globe,” added Peeler. 

Meanwhile, Mediha Mahmood, executive director of CMCF, believes that CMCF’s addition to the organization comes at a rightful time where the global digital content landscape is evolving even faster than the process of making new laws. 

“This necessitates the collaboration of global stakeholders to address and facilitate self-regulation, providing an additional layer of protection to complement the legal framework. CMCF constantly seeks to collaborate with content stakeholders not only locally, but also on an international level. Our alliance with ICAS and its 31 members is a step in the right direction. We look forward to a fruitful collaboration with ICAS,” said Mahmood.