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Storyboard | How ASCI hopes to prevent brands from violating the ad code

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Starts ‘Advertising Advice’ service with an expert panel that offers non-binding advice, at a pre-production stage, on claims and depictions in ads

Storyboard | How ASCI hopes to prevent brands from violating the ad code
In order to help brands be more mindful of the claims they make in their campaigns, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has launched an ‘Advertising Advice’ service. The industry body's paid service is open to all members and non-members of ASCI. It will point out to advertisers and marketers, at the campaign planning and production stage itself, if their campaign claims could potentially violate any ASCI code or guideline. This will help them to take corrective action at the pre-production phase and align the creative to the code.
In an interview with Storyboard on CNBCTV18, Manisha Kapoor, Secretary-General, ASCI, says “Advertisers, in spite of their best intentions, may not realise that something is violating the ASCI guideline and they may spend a lot of time money and effort later correcting what may be a small change that they could have made in the beginning and it is a huge cost correcting a campaign after it is released. And also the public has been exposed to a misleading ad for a while.”
For the advertisers, it provides quick expertise to help them make more responsible advertising. “Advertisers can send in their storyboards or their scripts to us or draft layouts and we have an expert panel that will look through it,” adds Kapoor.
However, the expert panel will offer non-binding advice. This means the advertisers are free not to take the advice given by the panel. “We will see if there are any red flags vis-à-vis the ASCI code. And if there are, we will advise the advertisers to make those corrections even before the ad is produced. Every script that the advertisers intend to run pass us there is a separate charge for it.”
It is also important to note that the advisory panel for the ‘Advertising Advice’ service is completely different from the complaints process to avoid any potential conflicts. “When it comes to a panel of experts for this particular service, we have advertising experts who have spent their careers in the advertising industry who know what is creativity or what is an exaggeration or what is misleading,” says Kapoor.
She adds that brands may also make technical claims in ads. To cover these aspects, ASCI has a panel of multi-disciplinary experts, ranging from Ayurveda to chemical formulations to micro-biology. “They are domain experts. We have professors from IIT, we have people with immense industry experience,” notes Kapoor.
Speaking about campaigns that are produced with a short turn-around time especially during busy months such as the festive season, Kapoor says there is a solution for that as well.
“For our members, we do have what we call an express option which would take as little as 3 days and I guess if we receive a very specific request from an advertiser asking us to expedite the process we will try to make it possible for the panel to review it at that point in time.”
Full interview on Storyboard on CNBC-TV18 at 8:30 AM, Saturday.
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