At the board meeting held on September 13, 2007, Bhaskar Das, Executive President, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. (BCCL), was elected Chairman of the Board of The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). As a member of the Board of Governors since September 2005, he has provided active support to the self-regulation in advertising movement. Madhukar Kamath, Managing Director & CEO, Mudra Communications, was elected Vice-Chairman, and Rajiv Dube, President (Passenger Car Business Unit), Tata Motors, was reappointed Honorary Treasurer.
The other members of the new Board of Governors are Narendra Ambwani (Johnson & Johnson), Nitin Paranjpe (Hindustan Unilever), and Shantanu Khosla (Procter & Gamble-Hygiene & Healthcare) from amongst advertisers. The media organisations are represented by Vikram Kaushik (Tata Sky), G Krishnan (TV Today) and I. Venkat (Eenadu). Advertising agencies are represented by Pranesh Misra (Lintas India), Arvind Sharma (Leo Burnett) and Srinivasan Swamy (RK Swamy BBDO).
From the allied professions, the representatives are Dilip Cherian (Perfect Relations), Dhananjay Keskar (ICFAI Business School), Ram Poddar (The Tobacco Institute of India), and Partha Rakshit (AC Nielsen Research Services).
Shantanu Khosla, the outgoing Chairman, said, “As I hand over the chairmanship in the able hands of Bhaskar Das, I wish to say this past one year gave me an excellent opportunity to witness first hand ASCI delivering on its mandate of accepting fair advertising practices in the best interests of the consumer. I take this opportunity to wholeheartedly thank the Board of Governors, Board Consultative Committee, Consumer Complaints Council, and the Secretariat team of ASCI for their valuable support. Gualbert Pereira, our Secretary General since December 1993, will be retiring shortly and he will be succeeded by Alan Collaco.”
Said incoming Chairman Das, “Having been associated with ASCI for the last two years, I have come to truly appreciate the role that an active self-regulatory voluntary organization can play in the growth story of a booming media industry, by balancing the creative communication demands, on one hand, and the society’s code of ethics on the other, in a dynamic manner. It is my privilege to be elected Chairman of ASCI and I will endeavour to enhance its relevance to the various media constituents.”
An official communiqué stated: “During the year 2006-07, the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) deliberated on 140 complaints against ads, of which 78 were upheld. In 56 cases, the ads have been withdrawn or modified appropriately. It is noteworthy that 72 per cent of advertisers who complied are not members of ASCI.”
The statement further added: “During the year, close ties were established with the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA), and the Advertising Education Forum (AEF). The WFA has identified India, along with Russia, China, Brazil, Mexico, as emerging major markets in which self-regulation in advertising will play a vital role in rapidly expanding economies. ASCI’s ‘corresponding associate membership’ in EASA from this year will provide access for European economies to acquaint themselves with regulation of advertising in India, prior to their entry or expansion programmes.”