The Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) Board has decided to launch a Copy Advice service for its members from May 1, 2008. It may be recalled that ASCI became a member of the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) in 2007 with a view to gain from EASA’s expertise in advertising self regulation, as well as to play a significant role in self regulation internationally. One of EASA’s best practices is offering copy advice to members of self regulatory organisations (SRO).
The EASA Best Practice Self-Regulatory Model states, “One of self-regulation’s key roles is to prevent problems before they happen by providing advice to advertising practitioners.” This can be achieved through Copy Advice, which is defined as confidential, non-binding pre-publication advice about a specific advertising proposal, provided by an SRO, like ASCI, to an advertiser, agency or media.
An official communiqué stated, “The purpose of ASCI’s Copy Advice service is to prevent problems before they happen. This benefits not only the advertiser, agency and media immediately concerned, but also the wider advertising industry, by avoiding complaints and promoting social and consumer responsibility. Consequently, advertisers, agencies and media are encouraged to seek Copy Advice, and ASCI would provide it to any of its member who requests for it, free of cost.”
Unlike general information about code interpretation, Copy Advice concerns specific advertising proposals. Although it is non-binding to both the advertiser and ASCI’s Consumer Complaint Council (CCC), advertisers and agencies are likely to rely on it when spending large amounts of money.
ASCI’s Board has constituted a special panel, which will help the ASCI Secretariat to provide Copy Advise. Members of this panel have over 10 years’ experience working on ASCI’s Board and the CCC.
The length of time for getting Copy Advice needed would depend on the complexity of each individual case, as well as the need for discussion or consultation within the Secretariat, but ASCI would aim to provide Copy Advice within seven working days.