Partha Rakshit (proprietor, Partha Rakshit Associates), has been unanimously elected as the chairman of the Board of The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). The announcement was made at the board meeting of ASCI held on September 12.
Narendra Ambwani (director, Agro Tech Foods) has been elected vice-chairman, while Shashidhar Sinha (CEO, IPG Mediabrands India) has been appointed the honorary treasurer.
The other members of the new Board of Governors are Hemant Bakshi (Hindustan Unilever), Shantanu Khosla (Procter & Gamble Hygiene & Health Care), Jayant Singh (Glaxo SmithKline Consumer Healthcare), Rajan Anandan (Google India), Sunil Lulla (Times Television Network), Benoy Roychowdhury (HT Media), I Venkat (Eenadu), Subhash Kamath (BBH Comms India), Arvind Sharma (Leo Burnett), Srinivasan Swamy (R K Swamy BBDO), Dilip Cherian (Perfect Relations), S K Palekar (S P Jain Institute of Management) and Abanti Sankaranarayanan (CIABC).
Arvind Sharma, the outgoing chairman of ASCI and chairman and CEO, India subcontinent at Leo Burnett, says, "Last year has been a very eventful year for ASCI. The NAMS Initiative which has seen a fivefold increase in the ads complained against (from 177 to 788) has won ASCI the prestigious EASA Silver Award for Best Practices. The CCC now meets every week and complaints against about 200 advertisements are deliberated upon every month."
The Online Complaints and Monitoring Services (OCMS) in the new-look ASCI website has also started getting complaints against ads coming in from consumers in large numbers. ASCI has also introduced Suspension Pending Investigation, where an advertiser is asked to suspend an ad immediately pending investigation when that ad appears to be in serious breach of the code.
On his new role, Rakshit says, "The last couple of years have seen a sea change in ASCI's approach to self regulating advertising content. Earlier, we acted primarily on complaints received by the public. I believe ASCI's biggest task in the coming year is to more vigorously disseminate ASCI's guidelines through training programmes to the advertisers and ad agencies who create the ads and to media who release them, so that the proportion of new ads that meet ASCI's standards is high at the stage of release itself. ASCI will also liaise more closely with regulators to ensure that ads which do not comply with CCC's upheld complaint decision are acted upon as per the law of the land."
For the record, during 2012-13, the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) met 24 times and considered 3007 complaints against 788 advertisements. Of these, complaints against 642 ads were upheld, while 144 were not upheld and 2 were considered non-issues. In 590 cases, the complaint upheld ads have been voluntarily withdrawn or modified as per the CCC's decisions resulting in over 91 per cent compliance rate.