Can liquor brands sail through ASCI restrictions on surrogate ads?

Ad industry experts say that there will always be restrictions but it is up to advertisers to be creative and find ‘elegant’ solutions for their campaigns

e4m by Misbaah Mansuri & Noel Dsouza
Published: Jan 27, 2021 8:48 AM  | 5 min read
liquor ban ads

In a recent development,  ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) banned surrogate advertisements of 12 liquor companies who were actively advertising during the IPL season. These brands have been under the scammer for a while and have been found violating the codes put forth by ASCI. 

ASCI is looking into the alcohol brand extension advertising, instead of its regular weekly feeds for immediate processing of complaints. The ads of the liquor brands under scrutiny have been accused of alluding to products that are prohibited by the law. The two key factors of the investigation are to determine the surrogates for liquor and understand what genuine brand extensions are. 

Offering an overview of the complaint, Manisha Kapoor, Secretary-General,  ASCI stated, “Following the liquor brand extension advertisements that appeared during the IPL on OTT and print, ASCI suo motu took up 14 complaints. In 2 cases, the advertiser agreed to withdraw the advertisements immediately. The other 12 cases were taken to ASCI's Consumer Complaints Council (CCC). All these advertisements were found to be in violation of the ASCI code, as advertisers failed to convince the CCC that these were genuine brand extensions, or that they did not have direct or indirect cues of the category whose advertising is restricted or prohibited. All the advertisements against which complaints have been upheld cannot be aired/ published unless they are modified.” 

Kapoor said that ads against which complaints were upheld are not allowed to be published or broadcast pending the review process. 

In December 2020, CBFC too added quantitative criteria for brands extension, similar to ASCI quantitative criteria to assess genuine brand extensions. 

e4m quizzed ad industry experts for their views on how marketers should approach these regulations while trying to instil an impactful call to action through their campaigns. 

Speaking about the surrogate advertising appeal for marketers and the current approach towards it, Auryndom Bose, Group Creative Director, Dentsu One said, “Once upon a time, surrogate advertising used to be an elegant solution. Then marketers got smarter and more creative. And it became a great tool for experiential marketing. It leveraged the interest genres of the target group. With events and seminars, it almost became a great source of content for these brands. It still is." 

He then added,"...but then there are these lazy brands that want to show their bottles or cans and repurpose them as apple juice or soda. This laziness in both strategy and creativity on part of the marketers has led us to this ban. There will always be restrictions but it is up to us to be creative and find ‘elegant’ solutions.” 

Talking about the regulations in place, Jigar Fernandes, Founder, tiqui-taka, and third floor films remarked, “The codes or rules have been made by wise men and women. It's a good move to clamp down on whatever goes against these rules. But in the absence of prohibitive penalties, brands often find a way around, under or over these rules. It remains to be seen what avatar these communications take next. I don't see them disappearing all of a sudden. Because there are wise men and women sitting in the offices of brands as well. As regards to IPL, it will affect them, but not by much because brands are ever willing to put money on a show stopper event like this. Other brands will take their place.” 

Neeraj Sharma, Planning Head, Rediffusion shared that surrogate advertising is the marketing brain's answer to a loophole exploited to the fullest after all CDs are not even relevant in the day and age of streaming. 

Talking about finding solutions and to circumvent the regulations, Sharma said: “Even if the ads run on air they have to obey the law of the land. So the question is not about reputation damage but about blocking a stream to reach consumers through mass media. The repercussions of the impending decision will reverberate in the near future and hence the search to find new and legal avenues should be the challenge. Being part of the story which the law allows could be one solution e.g. partnering with the makers of ‘Devdas’ or ‘Four More Shots Please’ for an alcohol brand. These are the most obvious ones, I am sure if they put their mind together, they can find a legal and acceptable way to reach the right audience without jeopardizing young impressionable minds. After all, if sugar and Cola advertising can come under a regulatory framework, it's only fair that the noose tightens around surrogate ads.” 

Raghu Bhat, Founder Director, Scarecrow M&C Saatchi is of the opinion that liquor marketers have to keep one eye on the consumer and another on the law. 

Detailing this thought further Bhat added, “Surrogate advertising was a way to advertise the brand without advertising the product. If ASCI is raising questions about the legitimacy of the product itself, it's Pandora's box as the term 'surrogate' implies that the product being advertised is not the real product. The tricky word here is 'advertising'. If these rules become too stringent, liquor brands will move completely into branded content, events, experiential, and in-film. Liquor manufacturers have been innovative in the past and the trend will continue.”

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Aditya Birla Health Insurance asks KyaPeecheChhodaHai

The campaign talks of the importance of positive health behaviour

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 29, 2023 4:00 PM   |   2 min read

Health

Aditya Birla Health Insurance Company has unveiled its latest brand campaign “KyaPeecheChhodaHai” to promote the role of health insurance in changing lives of people by empowering them to lead healthier lives.

The campaign talks of the importance of how positive health behaviour such as walking 10,000 steps daily can help an individual leave health concerns behind.

These customers from across the walks of life, who are at the heart of the TVC and the digital campaign, narrate their stories about how walking 10,000 steps have helped them do away with concerns like mental stress and weight issues, diseases like diabetes, asthma etc.

Speaking on this campaign, Mayank Bathwal, CEO, of Aditya Birla Health Insurance, said, “At ABHI, our primary focus is to help our customers with cutting-edge innovative health-first insurance solutions which not only protect them from medical uncertainties but nudge them to live a health-focussed life. We take immense pride in having pioneered this model of health insurance that transcends the boundaries of an indemnity-based model by focusing on proactive health-care for our customers.”

“It is heartening to see our customers as brand ambassadors in our recently launched KyaPeecheChhodaHai campaign. For health insurance companies, customer trust is paramount, and to see our customers endorsing us, gives us immense satisfaction. The customers featured in the film belong to different walks of life, however, one thing that unites them is the initiative to bring a change in their lives by walking every day and managing their health proactively. We hope the films will encourage people to prioritise their health by engaging in simple yet effective physical activities such as walking 10,000 steps daily,” Bathwal added.

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Lux brand ONN talks of ‘total comfort’ in new campaign

The campaign has been curated by Wunderman Thompson Kolkata

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 29, 2023 7:00 PM   |   2 min read

ONN

ONN, a casual wear brand from Lux Industries Limited, has launched its new campaign for polos and tees, created by Wunderman Thompson Kolkata.

This is the second time in three years that WT Kolkata has conceptualised a campaign for ONN, driven by a couple of TVCs and supported by OOH.

The two new films - Piggyback and Fortune Teller - feature men who are irresistible by virtue of their ONN T-shirt.

The campaign reinforces the brand’s positioning of complete comfort. Shot in Bucharest, Romania, the international location and cast lend a global angle to the brand and add to its aspiration quotient.

Commenting on the campaign, Saket Todi, Executive Director, Lux Industries Ltd., said, “We always wanted to project the brand as youthful and footloose. We know that to enter the consideration set of our target audience and be preferred by them over other brands in this segment, we had to strike the right balance between premium imagery and easy accessibility. We have kept the brand aspirational and the pricing within reach. The primary objective was to get noticed again after a gap of three years. Which is why, we went ahead with advertising themes, locations and cast which have the potential to grab eyeballs.”

On the execution, Arjun Mukherjee, VP & Senior ECD, Wunderman Thompson, Kolkata, said, “The biggest challenge was to tell an interesting story with a twist in 20 seconds. That’s why we thought of scripts with minimum or zero dialogue which would establish the product positioning without impeding the pace of the storyline. Similar to our previous films for ONN, international settings and actors have been used to amplify the aspiration levels.”

Vijay Jacob Parakkal, Senior VP & Managing Partner, Wunderman Thompson, Kolkata, said, “Wunderman Thompson Kolkata is glad to have partnered Lux Industries on the latest campaign for ONN. We had set a high benchmark with our first campaign for the brand in 2019. Coming after a gap of three years, the new campaign is an important milestone for the brand in its journey to appropriate ‘comfort’. We are very positive that this new campaign will power ONN to a faster growth trajectory”.

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'Be a Superstar,' says Bausch + Lomb's latest ad film

The campaign is targeted at South Indian markets ahead of the festive season

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 28, 2023 8:45 AM   |   2 min read

Bausch + Lomb

Kinnect, a part of the FCB Group India, has launched a digital campaign ‘BeASuperstar’ ahead of the festive season in southern India.

The campaign aims to shine a light on the advantages of switching to contact lenses in a light-hearted way, while telling a story that is authentic to the market it is set in. A storyline that could resonate with the audience in the southern region as well as the whole nation.

Speaking on the campaign launch, “Sana Lairellakpam, Head of Marketing at Bausch + Lomb, said, “Connecting with our consumers has always been a core part of what we do at Bausch + Lomb. Hence on the occasion of Pongal/Sankranti, a key festival in South India, we launched a new campaign to drive regional connections. This time, our narrative takes you to the colourful and larger-than-life world of South Indian cinema and is a celebration of the love and admiration that the people of South India have for their Superstars. The unusual story unfolds in a very memorable manner which should drive relevance of Bausch + Lomb contact lenses in a regional context, strengthening brand recall and awareness.”

“Bausch & Lomb has always given us the freedom to think of ideas that are a bit unexpected for a healthcare brand, which makes it a creatively enriching brand to work on. So, this time, as the focus was more on the South market, our task was to find the perfect setting for the story that’s contextual and remains relatable throughout the year. Hence, the world of Southern cinema and the reverence their audience has for their Superstars defined the story's outline,” said Gitanjali Bhattacharya, Creative Director, Kinnect.

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GroupM's Motion to invest Rs 300 crore in content production: Ashwin Padmanabhan

Motion Content Group will be producing 10 feature films this year, says Padmanabhan, President - Investments, Trading, and Partnerships, GroupM - India

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 27, 2023 8:41 AM   |   4 min read

Motion

GroupM’s content investment and rights management company – Motion Content Group – is set to invest Rs 300 crore into content production as it ventures into the movie business.

During the launch of the company's latest show, ‘Jai Ho! Bharat Ki Anant Yatra’, Ashwin Padmanabhan, President - Investments, Trading, and Partnerships, GroupM - India, revealed that this was the first time Motion would be doing films, and that they would be producing 10 feature films this year - seven in Marathi, one Tamil, and one Hindi bilingual film.

Padmanabhan also shared that Motion has big plans for 2023. He announced the launch of Coke Studio Tamil with the Coca-Cola team in Chennai – the first-ever Coke Studio show in any Indian regional language. “2023 is going to be a point of inflection for Motion. Not only will we do what we always do well - producing web shows and TV shows - but with the launch of movies we will see a new chapter in Motion. And the way GroupM goes about creating content and starts partnering with whole ecosystem of platforms and TV channels, it is now looking into theatres as well.”

Motion Content Group India’s IP includes the YAARI Series, Critics Choice Awards and Hello Sago.

Speaking about the overall content investment, he shared, “Motion Content today is a Rs 300-crore business and we will invest the same amount of money in producing either our own IPs or even content that is not our IP, but we fund a platform.”

In partnership with Google and Meta, Motion Content announced the launch of ‘Jai Ho! Bharat Ki Anant Yatra’ in collaboration with Optimum Television. The show, a tribute to the contribution that the Indian civilization has made to the world, takes viewers on a journey through India's past, present and future. The show will comprise of three episodes for a duration of one hour each. It will be aired on Zee TV SD, Zee TV HD, Zee Cinema HD, & TV, Zee news and Hindustan.

GroupM launched Motion Content Group (Motion) in 2017 to meet the ever-growing market demand for new economic models for premium content across the entertainment and media marketplace. The company has been producing web shows and TV shows but this will the first time that the group will be producing films.

“The way we see our engagement in the content ecosystem is more than that of enabling. As GroupM, we in a way are custodians of a lot of advertising that our brands, our customers do. That's our core but we also understand that if we want to be able to deliver the best for our clients, we also need to create a strong ecosystem on the platform side as well,” Padmanabhan added.

He further said, “With the kind of volatility that we see in the markets today, for platforms too it has become very difficult to predict what content to invest in. And that's where we actually launched Motion Content Group and said Motion can start working with platforms, first to enable them to produce more and better-quality content, because if they produce more content with better quality, it will engage better with consumers. If they engage better with consumers, our brands, and our clients will be benefited.”

Talking about the rationale behind getting into films, he said, “The interest in movies started because we realized that the movie industry is going through some sort of a mini crisis. At one level, you have producers who are putting a lot of money and on the other hand there are people who tend to avoid investing. But movie as a format is one of the most powerful ways of telling stories and when you move from theatre to OTT to a television platform a story gets viewers, and is consumed by millions again, and again. And hence, we felt that this is a format that we should embrace because it forms a core part of the content that today goes on OTT and television.”

He also further clarified that none of these works or shows is branded content. “In the show ‘Jai Ho’ you will hardly see Meta or Google Cloud. There will be interaction with someone from Google, who's going to talk about the future. In that context, there will be a Google Cloud session but there’s no brand plug in.”

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Nikon India elevates the voice of women with ‘Through Her Lens’ campaign

The contest, now in its 3rd season, serves as a platform for female photographers to flaunt their creative expertise

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 26, 2023 2:00 PM   |   2 min read

Nikon

Nikon India is thrilled to unveil the latest edition of its campaign "Through Her Lens", an annual digital contest aimed at empowering and elevating the voices of professional and amateur women photographers in India.

The contest, now in its 3rd season, serves as a platform for female photographers to flaunt their creative expertise, gain valuable exposure and establish connections with the industry's top professionals. This initiative enables women to showcase their talent and skillset while breaking gender stereotypes and encouraging more women to join the field of photography.

Commenting on the occasion, Sajjan Kumar, Managing Director, Nikon India Pvt. Ltd. said, “At Nikon India, we see a world where the lens of a camera is not just an instrument to capture the reality but also a tool to create change. Our newest campaign "Through Her Lens" exemplifies our effort to promote diversity and inclusion in the photography industry. We are excited to see the outstanding work that the participants will submit this year and hope this contest inspires and empowers women photographers in India. We believe that through this contest, we shall pave way for the future where the stories are captured, shared and celebrated equally.”

The theme of this year's contest is "That's Me!" encouraging women photographers and videographers to submit one photograph or video that they identify with the most, along with a short description of the image/video and how it reflects their perception of themselves.

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Liqvd Asia joins hands with Vega for #BeGenFree campaign

The new campaign cuts across generations to celebrate the spirit of individualism and freedom

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 25, 2023 10:52 AM   |   2 min read

#BeGenFree

Liqvd Asia has collaborated with beauty and personal care brand Vega for its #BeGenFree campaign.

The campaign encourages every man and woman to celebrate his or her uniqueness with its line of grooming and styling products. #BeGenFree aims to create a sense of community where fun-loving individuals can live life confidently on their own terms.

The new messaging caters to consumers who want to break free from the stereotypes and adapt every progressive attribute of all the generations in their way of being, especially in their lifestyle choices.

“We did not want to pigeonhole Vega’s audience with labels that already exist. This led to the creation of #BeGenFree, a term that creates a wider appeal for Vega. It is a diverse community that unites all such social groups under one roof,” said Anish Varghese, Chief Creative Officer, Liqvd Asia.

“After the success of our last award-winning campaign ‘Flaunt your befikar’ we thought we'd step it up by introducing a digital campaign that encourages self-assurance, celebrates individuality, and fosters a sense of community within a free society. We are adopting a "self-focus" position as a brand, which gave rise to the hashtag #BeGenFree. It gives both men and women the freedom to express themselves. Our target audience will connect with our elevated line of communication, thanks to Team Liqvd Asia,” said Eiti Singhal, Chief Marketing Officer, Vega.

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Madison Media bags ‘Media Agency of the Year’ title at e4m Prime Time Awards

The media agency also won 2 gold, 4 silver and 8 bronze metals for its impactful campaigns across categories

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 25, 2023 10:33 AM   |   3 min read

MadisonMedia

Madison Media was named ‘Media Agency of the Year’ at the e4m Prime Time Awards (PTA) 2022. The agency also walked away with 2 gold, 4 silver and 8 bronze metals across categories for its outstanding content marketing campaigns. The ninth edition of the e4m Prime Time Awards was held on Tuesday, January 24, in a glittering ceremony at Taj Santacruz, Mumbai. 

Madison Media bagged gold for ‘Spotlight of India’ campaign under the ‘Consumer Durables & Electronics’ for its client Asian Paints Ltd. The media agency won silver metals for its ‘Body ki Bhasha delivered in Matra Bhasha’ campaign for its client Modenik Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd under ‘Best Use of Influencers/Celebrities on TV’, for ‘Gowardhan ka garvshali Padav’ campaign for Parag Milk Food under the ‘Best Branded Content on TV’ category. It won silver metal for its ‘Breaking News - Breaking Barriers’ campaign for its client Nobel Hygiene under the ‘Best Use of News Channel’ category, for ‘Friends Pehno, Bahar Nikalo’ campaign for its client Nobel Hygiene under the ‘Best Use of Regional Entertainment Channel’ category.                                          

The media agency also won bronze metals for ‘Spotlight of India’ campaign for Asian Paints Ltd under two categories- the ‘Best Integrated TV Campaign (Use of two or more mediums along with TV)’ and ‘Best Use of TV to Launch/Re-Launch Product/Service’ categories. The agency also won bronze for its ‘Spotlight of India’ campaign for Asian Paints Ltd under the ‘Best Use of Entertainment Channel’ category, for ‘Protekting kids from the virus through an unique & first ever integration’ campaign for Godrej Consumer Product Limited under the ‘Best Use of Kids Channel’ category.

Madison Media also won bronze for Asian Paints in Bigg-Boss Malayalam campaign for Asian Paints Ltd, for Indira IVF Winning Hearts in Karnataka campaign for Indira IVF under ‘Best Use of Regional Entertainment Channel’, for Crompton SilentPro - Play to Win! Campaign for Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals Limited under the ‘Best Use of Sports Channel’ category.       

The Prime Time Awards acknowledge the stellar works done by creative, advertising, brands and media agencies in the television advertising domain.

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