official statement, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has announced the launch of a Copy Advice service. Under this, the ASCI will provide an opinion on an ad - whether the ad complies with its code and government rules or not. The advice will include the amendments that are needed to be considered to bring the ad in line with ASCI norms.
Copy Advice will be provided on a confidential basis on request by advertisers, agencies or media members of the ASCI. It is not binding on any of the parties who request for it; however, they would be expected to comply with it.
Copy Advice will be provided by a panel consisting of the ASCI secretary general and some nominated persons of the board who have more than 10 years' experience of working with the ASCI and/or the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC). It will be provided free of charge to ASCI members; non-member advertisers will be charged Rs 1,000 per ad.
In the case of a complaint, the ASCI's Consumer Complaints Council is not bound by the pre-publication or release of a Copy Advice previously offered by the ASCI's Copy Advice panel. The chances of a complaint being upheld increases if an advertiser has chosen to not comply with the Copy Advice; if an advertiser has not acted on the Copy Advice, he would be expected to provide cogent reasons for his non-action.
The difference between pre-clearance and Copy Advice is that, normally, a pre-clearance is found where advertising is subject to statutory or co-regulation clearance. In the case of Copy Advice, there is usually no element of obligation, either in seeking the advice in the first place or in following it once it has been obtained. Pre-clearance, on the other hand, is the compulsory examination of an advertisement, before it is broadcast or published, to ensure that it complies with legal, statutory or self-regulatory rules. Currently, the ASCI does not offer pre-clearance of ads.
The advantage of seeking Copy Advice at an early stage is that it provides advertisers and agencies with a reassurance of compliance with the standards of practice. It also avoids wastage of time and money on campaigns which breach the ASCI code and rules and are therefore likely to be short-lived. It prevents damage to an advertiser's or brand's reputation, which could be caused due to unfavourable publicity if a complaint is upheld.