Did the trolled ads violate any rules? ASCI explains
Gen-secretary Manisha Kapoor said that while offensive ads are flagged or removed as per consumer sentiments, ASCI considers the viewpoints of ordinary citizens not those of hypersensitive individuals
Almost every big advertisement these days undergoes massive social media trials. From Unacademy to Dabur to FabIndia to Nykaa, ads of several brands have triggered a rush of harsh responses from netizens with fragile religious and cultural sentiments.
The outcry is often so profound that brands have to recall their ads and even apologize for their creativity and unique themes that aimed to grab eyeballs to promote certain products.
This raises a serious question-do these ads violate any law or the code stipulated by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) by choosing a theme that has religious overtones or seeks to challenge the set norms of the Indian society? And how do such ads escape ASCI scrutiny?
These questions assume significance as in the case of Dabur, even Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra has issued public threats to the company for its now-retracted Karwa Chauth ad that showcased a lesbian couple.
e4M sought to understand the answer to this question from Secretary-General, ASCI Manisha Kapoor.
Explaining the ASCI code, Manisha Kapoor says, “The ASCI code says that advertisements should not contain anything indecent or repulsive which is likely to cause grave and widespread offense, given generally prevailing standards of public decency and propriety.”
However, she clarifies, “It is important to note that as per case laws, the viewpoint of an ordinary citizen is considered, and not that of an out of the ordinary or hypersensitive person.”
“If the ad doesn’t violate this provision or any other provision of the ASCI code, then ASCI will not have any objections. However, if such ads violate the ASCI code, then ASCI would need the advertiser to withdraw or modify the same. If ASCI receives a complaint, such ads are taken to the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC),” she further explains.
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