On the celebration of its Silver Jubilee, the Advertising Standards Council of India hosted a seminar which saw top industry persons debating the pros and cons of advertising and the responsibility of marketing on the consumers. The seminar looked at the topic ‘Marketing Responsibly’ which also included the rarely spoken topic of responsible marketing in the sector of education.
The panel for this topic of discussion included Maheshwar Peri, Publisher and President of Outlook and also the publisher of Careers 360; Dr. Ganesh Natarajan, Chairman of Nasscom and Global CEO of Zensar Technologies with Dhananjay Keskar, ASCI chairman as the moderator.
Education is one of the least talked about sectors when it comes to advertising regulation, but the three spokespersons made clear to the audience the importance of regulating advertising with regards to education because it could be a simple advertisement that could make or break a child’s career and thus his or her life.
Peri started off by explaining well that a few misleading ads end up ruining people’s lives. He cited various examples of advertisements that mislead students promising them foreign degrees or job placements when in reality there was nothing to offer. He stated that even though people are aware of negative advertisements or even if they have been cheated in some way, there is a zero percent legal recourse. Peri made a very strong statement by saying, “Every advertisement should be treated as a prospectus of that particular institute and only then will everything fall into place without misleading any student.”
Natrajan took off on a different tangent stating that to make people aware of an institute, one does not require advertising. He said, “We have to understand the children of today. Students today don’t really look at advertisements, they look at what is buzzing through blogs and research.” To support this he cited an example where he wanted 75 students for his institute, but by just blogging and using online resources he got 400 bright students. He further said that it was people in the smaller towns that were getting duped because they are not fully exposed to this kind of research.
Keskar concluded the session by saying that we should all be socially responsible and communicate only the facts while advertising.