Celebs may face the heat for surrogate ads – Times of India

Celebs may face the heat for surrogate ads - Times of India


NEW DELHI: Celebrity endorsers along with manufacturers and advertisers could soon face the heat if found resorting to surrogate commercials for promoting products prohibited from advertising.
Amid instances of many alcoholic spirits and beverages being advertised through music CDs, club sodas and packaged drinking water, while chewing tobacco and gutkas being advertised under the guise of fennel and cardamom, the consumer affairs ministry has warned of “stern action” against such surrogate advertisement or indirect advertisement of prohibited items by liquor companies, gutka manufacturers and other firms on any media platform.
The ministry has urged the associations, advertisers and broadcasters’ associations to advise their members to stop this immediately.
Emphasising that there is a complete ban on surrogate advertisement, Union consumer affairs secretary, Rohit Kumar Singh, this week wrote to a dozen industry associations urging them to ask their members to comply with the law.
In one such letter addressed to Nisha Kapoor, CEO of International Spirits and Wines Association, Singh said, “You are hereby directed to advise the concerned to ensure strict compliance of guidelines by the concerned parties and deal with violators with an iron hand, or we will be constrained to refer such matters to the CCPA for suitable stern action against the violators.”
TOI has learnt that while the ministry was receiving several complaints of surrogate advertisements across media platforms, particularly in the web, linked to wine and gutka products, it decided to issue an advisory-cum-warning to the umbrella associations to stop this. The ministry has referred to how non-compliance was evident during the recent sports events that were televised globally, where many instances of surrogate advertisements were noticed. It said there have also been instances of direct advertisement of alcoholic beverages on social media platforms. “We decided to caution them before taking action. Anyone involved in such advertisements, including advertisers and celebrities, are liable for action,” said a source.
The ministry has mentioned a decision of the Delhi HC in which a TV channel petitioner was directed to run a 10 second apology every hour between 8 am to 8 pm on two days for airing a surrogate advertisement and violating the Advertising Code.


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