ASCI report decodes challenges and opportunities for EdTech advertising

Proposes RAISE model that will help marketers and creative experts review concepts at the inception stage of the ad itself

e4m by e4m Desk
Published: Jan 11, 2023 8:48 AM  | 5 min read
asci

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has released a comprehensive report on advertising in the education technology sector (EdTech) and the impact it has on parents and students. The report aims to decode the challenges and opportunities for EdTech sector advertising. The report also identifies ways in which the sector can shape a more responsible narrative, and move away from opportunistic advertising which many consider problematic.

EdTech as a sector holds immense promise in being able to address the infrastructural and learning challenges in India, hence it is critical that the advertising of the sector does not undermine its potential. The study, done with the active participation of both industry and non-industry stakeholders identifies opportunities and challenges and proposes a framework that could guide advertisers to more balanced advertising.

The EdNext study was undertaken by ASCI with Sprint Studio.ai as the research partner and UNICEF as the knowledge partner. A total of 100 EdTech advertisements across print, TV, digital video and static mediums were analysed by a wide set of stakeholders including parents, students, policymakers, educationists, child development experts, as well as representatives of the industry from the marketing and creative fields. The study was conducted across the cities of Delhi, Bangalore, Indore, Kanpur, Patna, Kolhapur, Warangal and Bardhaman.

The analysis revealed that:

  • Ads have a huge impact on parents’ choice of EdTech platform, with 49% of parents choosing platforms based on advertising
  • Like traditional education ads, Ed-Tech ads too, have a huge focus on marks and ranks. Math and science dominated the subjects depicted
  • While 81% of parents trust EdTech ads, 73% felt that ads showed high pressure of studies
  • None of the endorsers/ role models were from the academic field
  • Stereotypes of gender, physical appearances, and mother’s roles crept in to these ads

The findings also noted some positives. Some of the key positives identified were:

  • Ads featuring parents represented them as supporting partners to students, and thereby provided positive role models for progressive parenting (21 out of 23 ads)
  • Parents and experts also felt that ads that focused on conceptual learning were progressive and enjoyable.

The EdNext study proposed a framework to elevate the communication around EdTech mindfully. Titled ‘RAISE’, the framework provides stakeholders a set of lenses to evaluate the creatives and develop messages that could be considered more progressive. Following the checklist guide provided in the framework will help marketers and creative experts review concepts at the inception stage of the ad itself.

The framework is based on five principles which include:

  • R – Relationship of the student with learning
  • A – Authenticity of situations, promises and claims
  • I – Inclusive representation of characters to depict diversity in gender, age, physical attributes, personality types, learning styles and pace along with regional inclusion
  • S – Spectrum of pedagogy where there is information on learning methods and how they contribute to holistic learning outcomes
  • E – Excellence markers to focus on overall development as a measure of success over ranks and marks

Manisha Kapoor, CEO and Secretary General, ASCI, said: “EdTech has emerged as a very important sector in recent times, especially in the pandemic era where parents engaged with these companies to supplement their children’s education. Ed-Tech has the ability to solve some fundamental infrastructure and content challenges and revolutionize Indian education. However, given the particular asymmetry between vulnerable parents and students on the one hand, and large organizations on the other, it is critical to ensure that advertising is responsible and does not exploit these vulnerabilities. EdTech advertising has a massive opportunity to build a positive and future-facing narrative, which makes for compelling brand stories that also build confident and multifaceted learners.”

Mayank Kumar, Chair at Indian Ed-tech Consortium, and Co-founder UpGrad said: “The EdNext report shines light on the sheer scale of the EdTech sector and highlights the need for raising the bar on advertising in the industry along with providing a roadmap on how that can be achieved. The report also shows huge acceptance of the benefits of EdTech products by students, parents and teachers. The in-depth research we undertook along with ASCI will help the industry get a clear picture of how the sector can benefit through responsible advertising, which it is already constantly working towards.”

Divya Gokulnath, Co-chair at Indian Ed-tech Consortium and Co-Founder BYJU’S said: "The EdNext report highlights that almost all parents are appreciative of the ads which show children enjoying the process of learning, which is something we live by, work for, and showcase in our ads. We prioritize building strong and sustainable relationships based on first principles. While it's natural for advertisers to highlight the best outcomes achieved by their users, the EdTech industry strives to present a balanced picture at all times. As a nascent industry that is constantly evolving, we must adapt in our effort so that we can make learning effective for everyone. This initiative by ASCI will help us design even more responsible and effective ad campaigns as we continue to grow and improve."

 

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Jim Sarbh ‘breaks through’ societal judgment in a bold campaign by Infinix India

The campaign is about empowering individuals to defy convention and unlock their true and unique potential

By e4m Staff | Sep 21, 2023 2:58 PM   |   2 min read

infinix

Infinix, a new age technology brand, has launched a brand film titled ‘#BreakThrough’. In a society bound by judgments and stereotypes, Infinix has taken a daring stance by showcasing the spirit of those who fearlessly defy the status quo. The film showcases characters often considered as societal outcasts, such as homeless individuals and sex workers, to highlight the need for inclusivity.

Breaking away from conventional norms, Infinix introduces a refreshing concept in the film. Instead of relying on traditional celebrity endorsements, the brand opts for a creative approach by featuring Jim Sarbh in a captivating cameo role. Jim becomes the eyes of society, portraying a range of shocking and never-seen-before looks, sparking intrigue and manifesting engagement from audiences in the form of the viral social media sensation 'Spot Jim’.

The core message of ‘#BreakThrough’ revolves around Infinix India's unwavering commitment to surpass industry standards and deliver breakthrough products that provide meaningful solutions to consumers' lives. By championing inclusivity and celebrating individuals who defy societal molds, Infinix reinforces its dedication to creating a world that embraces diversity and encourages innovation.

“As a new-age tech brand, Infinix India believes in pushing boundaries, challenging norms, and driving innovation. We are committed to redefining what is possible in the tech ecosystem through our ever expanding categories and unique propositions.

'Break Through,' resonates and mirrors the journey that Infinix has undertaken by defying convention and bringing meaningful solutions to people’s lives. Through this film, we want individuals to believe in the power of their potential and the importance of embracing differences,” said Anish Kapoor, CEO, Infinix. “We chose to tell this story along with the extremely talented Jim Sarbh, who rightly embodies the brand's spirit.”

Jim Sarbh said, “Referring to a quote by Carl Jung ‘Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.’ I am glad brands like Infinix are spreading the message of acceptance, understanding and community building.”

 

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Vermillion Communications gets Aparna Enterprises Limited and Nexon Paints accounts

The agency will provide creative support, branding, strategy, and digital marketing support to the brands

By e4m Staff | Sep 21, 2023 1:05 PM   |   1 min read

Vermillion

Vermillion Communications Pvt. Ltd., Chennai, is proud to announce its significant and remarkable presence in the vibrant state of Telangana. The Southern HQ of Vermillion Communications has recently secured major accounts in the region, solidifying its position as a leading communications and marketing agency in South India.

The agency has secured two substantial accounts based in Telangana during the second quarter. Aparna Enterprises Limited and Nexon Paints, both headquartered in Hyderabad, have chosen Vermillion Communications Chennai as their appointed agency for creative support, branding, strategy, and digital marketing.

Formerly known as Saicoat Paints, Nexon Paints has been a trusted name manufacturing high-quality, environmentally friendly decorative paints for over a decade. The brand is swiftly emerging as a leading manufacturer, offering excellent value for money and an extensive range of paints for both exteriors and interiors. Nexon Paints has gained substantial traction among consumers in South India and is on a mission to establish itself as a national brand. Vermillion Communications is excited to be a part of Nexon Paints’ journey, contributing to its growth through creative strategy and branding. We are confident that Nexon Paints will become one of the most preferred paint brands in the country. Our goal is to create a powerful presence of the brand in the market and ensure its success.

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Anil Kapoor decodes ‘the science of peaceful sleep’ in The Sleep Company campaign

The campaign talks about The Sleep Company's patented SmartGRID technology

By e4m Staff | Sep 21, 2023 12:55 PM   |   2 min read

The Sleep Company

The Sleep Company has unveiled its latest campaign featuring brand ambassador Anil Kapoor.

The #ScienceOfPeacefulSleep campaign sees Kapoor endorsing the company’s patented SmartGRID technology mattresses which combines cutting-edge science and technology to enhance sleep quality.

The campaign talks about The Sleep Company's patented SmartGRID technology.

Anil Kapoor, actor and brand ambassador, The Sleep Company, said, “Sleeping peacefully has always been a top priority for me to maintain overall health and wellbeing. It gives me immense pleasure to be a part of The Sleep Company family for three consecutive years now. It's not just about promoting a brand; it's about enhancing the quality of people's lives through peaceful sleep. The Sleep Company’s SmartGRID technology truly redefines the way we sleep, and I'm excited to continue spreading the word about the importance of a peaceful sleeping experience with this exceptional brand."

Commenting on the new campaign, Priyanka Salot, Founder, The Sleep Company said, "While countless sleep tips and tricks are being made popular every day, one of the fundamental root causes of poor sleep often goes unaddressed – the absence of a scientifically-proven, high-quality mattress. Our mission is to continually enhance the quality of life for our customers through our patented SmartGRID products. Mr. Anil Kapoor's charismatic and energetic persona brings to life the essence of this campaign – educating consumers about how our products epitomise the science of peaceful sleep, enhancing overall sleep quality, and ultimately enriching lives."

Ripal Chopda, Chief Marketing Officer, The Sleep Company, also shared his insights on the campaign, stating, "Our campaign is a testament to our commitment to revolutionising the way people perceive and achieve quality sleep. With Mr. Anil Kapoor, we have successfully conveyed the message that science is the ultimate key to peaceful sleep. This campaign reinforces our dedication to offering innovative sleep solutions, backed by rigorous scientific research, to enhance the well-being of our customers."

The campaign has been conceptualised by The Sleep Company in collaboration with World Without Walls.

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Zoo Media Network wins Goldmedal Electricals' digital marketing mandate

While full-funnel creative and media services will be managed by FoxyMoron, Pollen will be responsible for curating influencer campaigns for the brand

By e4m Staff | Sep 21, 2023 12:47 PM   |   2 min read

Zoo

Zoo Media Network has won the mandate for Goldmedal Electricals Pvt Ltd. The network won the mandate following a multi-agency pitch.

The mandate for digital marketing includes full-funnel creative and media services, which will be managed by Zoo Media Network’s flagship agency, FoxyMoron. Meanwhile, Pollen, the leading influencer marketing agency under the network, will be responsible for curating robust influencer campaigns for the brand, all managed from Zoo Media Network’s Mumbai headquarters.

Kishan Jain, Director of Goldmedal Electricals, expressed his enthusiasm about this partnership, saying, "As a company engaged in the business of making amazing wiring and electrical devices, we wanted to partner with the best to showcase our philosophy and product innovations in the digital space. With its depth of services, technical expertise, and track record of handling some of the best brands in the business, Zoo Media was an obvious choice. We are excited about this association and look forward to creating some iconic communication ideas together that will lead to a stronger, more meaningful connection with our end consumers."

Commenting on the win Vivek Das, CEO of FoxyMoron [Zoo Media], said, “At Zoo Media, we are always excited to partner with brands that are on a journey of evolution towards a digital-centric model. Goldmedal Electricals has a fantastic product portfolio with a high technology quotient, and we will be partnering with them to elevate the brand's recognition & association with customers across the spectrum towards a purposeful & more profitable relationship.

We believe magic happens at the confluence of content, media, data and technology. To achieve this, FoxyMoron will lead the engagement, driving overall digital strategy, creativity and media in collaboration with Pollen on influencer marketing. We look forward to bringing the power of the Zoo Media network to Goldmedal Electricals.”
Pratik Gupta, Co-Founder of Zoo Media, shared, “Indian-owned businesses always inspire us at Zoo Media. Our recent discussions with the Directors and the marketing team at Goldmedal Electricals have reinforced my belief that these businesses are well-equipped not just to compete but thrive in the highly competitive market.
I'm excited about using Zoo Media's strengths to help Goldmedal Electricals achieve its business goals through effective, measurable marketing.”

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Finolex Pipes takes the quirky path to demonstrate reliability of CPVC, SWR pipes

The campaign has been executed in collaboration with Schbang Motion Pictures

By e4m Staff | Sep 21, 2023 12:16 PM   |   2 min read

Finolex

Finolex Pipes is bringing a wave of humour and insight to the fore with their latest ad film campaign. The brand has launched two captivating and humorous ad films that spotlight the exceptional functionality of their CPVC and SWR pipes in an entertaining narrative.

In collaboration with Schbang Motion Pictures, the ad films feature the iconic trio of plumbers engaging in lively conversations about the unique characteristics of each pipe.

The aim is to not only educate but also entertain the audience, building a strong consumer connection through humour and relatable scenarios.

The taglines for the films capture the very essence of Finolex Industries' commitment to providing dependable solutions. For Finolex CPVC Pipes, the tagline 'Thanda-Garam sahega, paani behta rahega' reflects the enduring quality of withstanding both hot and cold water applications, even under high pressures and ensuring a seamless flow.

Similarly, for Finolex SWR Pipeline, the tagline 'Easy to fit hain, har mausam mein hit hai' emphasizes the pipe's ease of installation and reliability, making it a hit choice for every season.

Ashok Jaiswar, Vice-President, Head of Marketing and Communications at Finolex Industries, shared his thoughts, stating. “After receiving a positive response from our valued customers and pertinent stakeholders for our campaign 'Peedhiyan Badlengi, Pipe Nahi,' we are delighted to announce the forthcoming sequels. These new campaigns are not just about showcasing our products but it’s about celebrating the trust our customers have placed in us. Our unwavering commitment remains in delivering top-quality solutions that stand the test of time. These ad films embody our core ideology of trust, innovation, and reliability."

He added, "Humor is a universal language, and through these entertaining ad films, we aim to connect with our consumers in a light-hearted and relatable way. The characters, coupled with the witty taglines, highlight the durability and functionality of our pipes, making it easier for consumers to connect with our brand."

Harshit Karnatak, Group Creative Manager at Schbang, also expressed his excitement, stating, "Our partnership with Finolex for this endeavor was a thrilling chance to spotlight innovation and dependability in the plumbing domain. Through the cinematic lens, we infused vitality into Finolex's 'Peedhiyan Badlengi, Pipe Nahi' campaign, placing its fundamental principles and the long-lasting trust it fosters under the spotlight."

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Moj's new brand film talks about joy of authenticity

The film is titled #MojPeHiMojHai

By e4m Staff | Sep 20, 2023 7:07 PM   |   2 min read

moj

Moj, a short video platform, has unveiled a new brand film that positions the platform as the ultimate destination for authentic content that celebrates joyful moments of one’s everyday life.

“With Moj, users can express their true selves, share their unique perspectives, and showcase what brings them the most happiness,” stated a press release. The brand film is titled #MojPeHiMojHai.

The film unfolds the journey of a young woman who feels a rush of energy as she scrolls through the Moj App. The narrative guides us through a sequence of enjoyable and cheerful scenarios, immersing the young woman in the diverse content available on Moj. Whether it's a spirited dance video, a serene beach getaway, the thrill of playing street cricket, or the excitement of trying out a new recipe, the app immerses her in relatable content that elicits feelings of joy and exhilaration.

Announcing the launch of the brand film, Mousumi Mishra, Head of Consumer Marketing for ShareChat & Moj, said, “Seeking relief from the ‘flex culture’ and endless scrolling of perfectly curated content, our young consumers today are looking for authentic content that reflects their world. Moj has been the platform of choice for India’s youth serving them a variety of content which is relatable to their distinct personalities and is served to them as per what their individual idea of a joyful moment is. Everyone can find their unique idea of happiness reflected on Moj, across content of different genres – dance, music, comedy, cooking, films, astrology - and it is this emotion that is perfectly reflected in the film.”

The brand film, produced by Schbang, has been launched in four languages, namely Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada.

 

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Lost in translation? The curious case of agencies and ASCI guidelines

The sheer number of ad violations begs the question of whether agencies are having trouble interpreting the advertising body's guidelines

By Tanzila Shaikh | Sep 21, 2023 7:50 AM   |   6 min read

agencies

With the creator economy poised to grow into a Rs 2,200 crore strong industry in the next two years (as per GroupM), the space has become the cynosure of all eyes. But with growth also comes reports of violations and frauds.  

To curb such flagrant practices, the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) along with government bodies is making a concerted effort by enforcing guidelines for self-regulation.

Yet, in its Annual Complaints Report 2022-2023, ASCI revealed some unsettling information regarding influencer infractions after reviewing 7,928 ads. Instances of violations of influencers reached an all-time high of 26% with 2,039 complaints during the time period. The most common influencer-related breaches were found in the personal care, food & beverage, and fashion and lifestyle categories.  

Given the number of violations, it begs the question of whether much is getting lost in translation despite ASCI’s guidelines. Is there a communication gap that’s leading to these infractions?  

A rejection of guidelines? 

Viren Sean Noronha, Co-Founder, of The New Thing says, “A running joke is that ASCI is the Voldemort of marketing. But it's not a communication gap; it's a rejection of guidelines at the core. It’s because they disrupt the user experience on social. This is a valid concern, as guidelines must integrate seamlessly with the channel and maintain a positive user experience.  

Noronha argues that the current shape and form of ASCI guidelines make paid partnerships “stand out like a sore thumb.”  

“If branded content doesn’t blend seamlessly with your organic feed, it’ll fall into the same blind spots that performance marketing assets do,” he points out.  

Noronha also notes that the real gap is the compulsion to use over tags and callouts of paid promotions, despite platforms offering native ways to declare promos. “Channels are constantly evolving. Why shouldn’t a guideline about them evolve along with them?”  

“We would be happy to work with the regulatory bodies on enforcing the rules,” says Viraj Sheth, Co-Founder & CEO at Monk Entertainment (Monk-E), who asserts that the onus of enforcing rules and regulations rests with all parties involved.  

He adds a caveat: “The communication also needs to be more regular in nature if these are to be followed thoroughly like is the case with rules and regulations in any and all industries."

Dhruv Sheth, CEO- Keeda Media and Partner - Kulfi Collective and Ex-OML, believes that some violations in the beginning are unavoidable in any case. “I think any new law that is applied will have a series of violations in the beginning due to lack of information and lack of knowledge of due process. I don’t think there is malice from any party to violate the rules. In my view, the crucial metric to monitor is the recurrence of rule violations, and efforts should be focused on establishing guidelines to rectify that.”

According to Preety Singh, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Boomlet Group, the sector is in a developmental stage and even the guidelines that have been introduced are relatively new. “Certainly, there is a pressing need for improved communication of these rules and guidelines. All influencer marketing agencies and influencers should work together to generate awareness for adhering to these guidelines. The most effective way to mitigate violations is through comprehensive awareness and education efforts”, she added.

Since the guidelines differ according to the sectors, some communication gap is bound to happen, according to Shivam Agarwal, Co-founder, Kromium. “Yes there is a communication gap. Guidelines differ sector-wise but agencies have clients across sectors.”  

Together for the greater good  

To bring some semblance of order in this chaotic ecosystem, ASCI and the government should adopt a collaborative approach, say experts. The unanimous thought is that it’s easy to point out mistakes but what actually helps prevent these mistakes is collaboration and helping each other towards a greater goal. 

Dhruv Sheth says, “The most effective approach in engaging with brands and influencers is to communicate on their own terms. There hasn't been a designated figure to correctly illustrate the guidelines and demonstrate their practical application in everyday business. That would be the most helpful - to talk to brands and influencers in a format that makes it easier for them to understand and thus comply.” 

In a similar vein, Viraj Sheth also recommends a collaborative approach. “I would suggest they work seamlessly with brands and the decision makers in these companies to ensure better implementation of these regulations. If there is more advocacy amongst these stakeholders and more interactions with the ASCI team, they will open up to these regulations more and ensure that they are enforced in all of their future campaigns.”  

He also notes that while the rules are not being completely followed by everyone in the industry, there is still quite a big uptick in terms of implementation of ASCI regulations. 

“As an existing player in this ecosystem, I am happy to chime in whatever capacity possible to assist the ASCI team to spread more awareness on this,” he states. 

Singh recommends that the government initiate campaigns that would serve as benchmarks for the influencer marketing ecosystem. “Such campaigns could greatly assist influencers, brands, and agencies in establishing clear parameters within which they can create innovative campaigns that align with the guidelines. As of now, raising awareness and setting benchmarks are crucial,” she avers. 

“What could also help is a single cohesive document stating laws for different industries,” adds Agarwal. 

Rules for thee, but not for me?

An industry insider, on the condition of anonymity, said that errant agencies also deserve a rap on the knuckles like brands and influencers do: “I believe even the agencies handling them should be questioned. ASCI needs to hold them accountable.”  

The insider contends that creators or celebs may be unaware of the guidelines, unlike the agencies. They are responsible for guiding their clients, hence, the lion’s share of the blame for violation should be borne by the agencies. “I believe that it is these agencies don’t take the rules seriously because they are not held accountable at all. Either way, they get their business irrespective of the guidelines.”

While advertisers and influencers bear the brunt of the violations, do the agencies who execute the campaigns and whose duty it is to adhere to the rules escape unscathed?  

Manisha Kapoor, CEO and Secretary General of ASCI says, “Agencies work on briefs created by clients who give the final approval. Of course, they need to be responsible and under the law; agencies are also held accountable.” She also states that the laws for agencies are outlined in the Consumer Protection Act 2019.

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