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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 01 July, 2022

  • 8 Min Read

MISLEADING ADVERTISEMENTS AND ROLE OF ENDORSERS

MISLEADING ADVERTISEMENTS AND ROLE OF ENDORSERS IN ADVERTISING

Although a monetary penalty is provided for any misleading advertisement, but there are grey areas that need to be addressed.

INDIAN ADS THAT WERE FOUND TO BE MISLEADING

  • Arihant Mattress- Corona-Resistant

The Arihant mattress released an advertisement in a Gujarati newspaper that claimed that their mattress was ‘corona-resistant’. The owner of the mattress under laws including the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954.

  • Eat Chicken-Beat Corona

The online advertisement claimed that eating chicken boosts immunity. The complaint was filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Karnataka Poultry Farmers that the online ad be taken down.

  • Maggi Claims

Maggi noodles are one of the most popular food items, in advertisements, it is claimed that it is healthy for children. After tests carried out in various states, it was found that it contains monosodium glutamate and lead more than the prescribed limit. The matter was taken to the consumer court and an FIR was lodged against Madhuri Dixit, Preity Zinta, and Amitabh Bachchan for promoting this product.

Provision available against misleading advertisement

  1. Consumer Protection Act 2019: The Act defines misleading advertisements as an advertisement about any product or service which are:
  • Falsely describes such products or services.
  • Gives a false guarantee to or is likely to mislead the consumers about the product.
  • Conveys an express or implied representation that would constitute unfair trade practices.
  1. Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act

The act prohibits advertisements that make false claims of drugs to be magical in the prevention of any disease or disorder.

Violation of the provisions of the act leads to imprisonment up to 6 months or fine, or both.

  1. Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations, 2018

The provision of the act deals with false advertisements related to food. The act prohibits publicity and advertisement through all media including electronic means. Violation of the act can attract a penalty of up to Rs 10 lakh.

  1. Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940

There are various provisions like RULE 106 that can be invoked in case of false and misleading advertisements.

  1. The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has been established under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 for regulating matters relating to the violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and also misleading advertisements.
  2. The District Collector has the power to investigate any complaint made to him by the Central Authority or the Commissioner of a regional office regarding misleading advertisements.
  3. Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022: The present guidelines define “bait advertisement”, and “surrogate advertisement” and clearly provide what constitutes “free claim advertisements”.

Other Preventive Measures

  • The advertisement which targets children shall not feature any personalities from the field of sports or music, cinema for products that under any law requires a health warning.
  • Clear guidelines are laid for the duties of the manufacturer, service provider, advertiser, and advertising agency, and due diligence is to be carried out before endorsing.
  • The CCPA can impose a penalty of up to Rs. 10 lakhs on manufacturers, advertisers, and endorsers for misleading advertisements and up to Rs. 50 lakhs for subsequent contraventions.

According to data released by AdEx India in 2022, celebrity endorsements saw a 44% rise in 2021 as compared to 2020.

Why do companies hire brand ambassadors for a product or a service?

  • Credibility: It adds to the credibility of the brand and increases the selling of the product.
  • Trust: the trust which people repose in some of the celebrities pass on to the image of the brand.
  • Lazy marketing- Sometimes it’s lazy marketing where a face does the job rather than any ideas.

Despite these acts and measures, misleading and false advertisements continue to display because of poor enforcement of laws and inadequacy of the law to deal with new forms of advertising which now appear on every digital platform.

  • In this globalized world, advertisement plays an important role in developing a strong brand but false and misleading advertisements are not only ethical but also distort competition and consumer choice.
  • They violate the basic right of the consumer like the right to information, right to choice and promote unfair trade practices.
  • It is the need of the hour to update the existing laws and ensure proper enforcement to deal with the rising menace.

Source: The Hindu


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