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Need to curb surrogate ads across industries to protect consumer rights: Govt

NEW DELHI: Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh on Thursday stressed on the need to curb the proliferation of surrogate advertisements across industries as it undermines consumer rights.

The Department of Consumer Affairs in collaboration with the Advertising Standards Council of India conducted a stakeholder consultation meeting on “Brand Extension vs. Surrogate Advertisements – Where’s the Line?” in Mumbai on Thursday.

The objective of this consultation was to collectively address the intricate issues surrounding surrogate advertising, brand extensions, and trademark restrictions, with the overarching goal of safeguarding public health and consumer rights, an official statement said.

The consultation engaged key stakeholders, from government bodies, including the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) and Trademark Authority, who shared their views on how to regulate such surrogate advertisements.

According to the statement, Singh said surrogate advertisements that promote products in restricted categories undermine consumer rights and can have serious implications.

There is a pressing need to restrict the proliferation of surrogate ads across industries, he added.

If respective prohibited industries fail to adhere to this guideline and comply with existing laws, more stringent actions will be implemented, Singh warned.

The Department of Consumer Affairs reaffirmed its stance with utmost clarity that any continued involvement in surrogate advertising will not be condoned.

It was underscored that stringent measures will be implemented to address any instances of non-compliance, with a firm commitment to take decisive actions against those found in violation.

The consultation underscored that there should be a clear distinction between the brand extension and the restricted product or service being advertised; the story or visual of the advertisement must depict only the product being advertised and not the prohibited product in any form.

The ad must not make any direct or indirect reference to prohibited products; the ad must not contain any nuances or phrases promoting prohibited products; the ad must not use colour, layout, or presentations associated with the prohibited products; and the ad must not use situations typical for promotion of prohibited products when advertising the other products.

Feb 22,2024

Source: ptinews