Saturday, 25 May 2013

ASCI to ensure quick action against ads violating its code

ASCI announces new initiatives to ensure faster & stronger action against all advertisements violating its code

  • NAMS starts tracking upheld complaints ads to ensure they don’t reappear. ASCI to report reappearance of upheld complaint ads to statutory authorities for further action.
  • Appoints Chief Operations Officer responsible for complaint lodging , investigation, redressal and follow up process. Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) to now meet weekly to speed up decision making

New Delhi: 

Adverting Standards Council of India (ASCI), the advertising content self regulating Industry watch dog announced three significant initiatives to ensure faster & stringent action against all advertisements which violate its advertising code and guidelines. ASCI, through National Advertising Monitoring Service (NAMS), has now started tracking advertisements in print and TV nationally against which complaints are upheld.  If they continue to re-appear without   removing or changing objectionable portions of the ad, ASCI will report these advertisements to the relevant statutory authorities for action according to the law of the land.  

To speed up the decision making process and handle multi-fold increase in complaints due to NAMS, ASCI has introduced an additional Consumer Complaint Council (CCC). As a result, CCC meetings will now be held every week instead of every fortnight. This will further reduce the average complaint adjudication time. The self regulatory body has also appointed Ms. Shweta Purandare as Chief Operations Officer (COO) to drive the investigation of complaints besides heading the complaint redressal and follow up process.

Commenting on these initiatives ASCI’s Chairman, Mr Arvind Sharma said, ASCI has been continually innovating to protect the interests of the consumers and all these initiatives are steps towards that.” 

He further added, “The proactive tracking  by NAMS earlier, of all newly released ads in print and TV and now of all upheld complaint ads and reporting non-compliance to statutory bodies is likely to help substantially in moving towards the goal of eradicating misleading ads.  Appointment of a COO and an additional CCC will go a long way in ensuring speedier and more effective complaint redressal process. ”

Tracking of upheld ads through NAMS

 If any advertisement after being upheld by the CCC for making false claims re-appears without appropriate modifications, then ASCI will report the ad to the relevant statutory authorities asking them to take action as per existing rules and regulations.

Weekly CCC Meetings

With the start of NAMS in May 2012 number of ads complained against went up to 784 as compared to 177 ads last year. This is a five-fold increase.  To accelerate the decision making process further, ASCI will have two Consumer Complaint Councils (CCC), effective June 11th 2013.The first and second CCC will assemble 1st & 3rd Tuesdays and 2nd and 4th Tuesdays respectively. Hence CCC meetings will be held every week. This will reduce the average complaint adjudication time by atleast a week. Currently ASCI is processing between 100 to 120 and through NAMS another 15 to 20 from consumers and intra industry complained ads per month. So in 2013-14, the number of CCC processed complained ads may even cross 1500 which would be more than 8 times that of 2011/12.

COO appointment

With many innovative initiatives launched to ensure better filtration of ads violating ASCI code, ASCI’s work load has gone up substantially. Ms Shweta Purandare appointed as COO will play a pivotal role in driving the investigation of complaints and follow up on compliance. With over 20 years’ experience in FMCG/ Pharma industry and scientific background, she will be responsible for all activities related to advertising complaint redressal process. 

Advertising Standards Council of India is an industry body set up to voluntarily self-regulate advertising content. ASCI & its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) deal with Complaints received from Consumers , Industry and NAMS, against Advertisements which are considered as False, Misleading, Indecent, Illegal, leading to Unsafe practices, or Unfair to competition, and are consequently in contravention of the ASCI Code and Guidelines for Self-Regulation in Advertising.

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