At the board meeting of The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) held today, Srinivasan K. Swamy, chairman and managing director, R K SWAMY BBDO, was unanimously elected chairman of the board of ASCI.
He has over forty years of advertising experience to his credit, and has also been a member of the board of governors of ASCI for close to ten years.
Abanti Sankaranarayanan, vice chairperson, Confederation of Indian Alcohol Beverage Companies (CIABC), was elected vice-chairman, while Shashidhar Sinha, CEO, Media Brands was re-appointed the honorary treasurer.
Other members of the board of governors include Al Rajwani (managing director and chief executive, Procter & Gamble Hygiene and Healthcare), Benoy Roychowdhury (executive director, HT Media), Dev Bajpai (executive director legal and corporate affairs and company secretary, Hindustan Unilever), D Shivakumar (chairman and CEO, PepsiCo India Holdings), Gurmit Singh (vice president and MD, Yahoo India), N.S. Rajan (global partner and MD, Ketchum Sampark ), Narendra Ambwani (director, Agro Tech Foods), Prashant Singh (MD, Neilsen India Region), Raj Jain (CEO, Bennett Coleman & Co.), Rohit Gupta (president - network sales and international business, Sony Pictures Networks India), S.K. Palekar (adjunct professor and advisor - executive education, Institute of Management Technology), Subhash Kamath (managing partner, BBH Comms India) and Sunil Lulla (chairman and managing director, Grey Worldwide India).
Commenting on the development, Benoy Roychowdhury, the outgoing chairman of ASCI says, "It has been quite an exhilarating year for ASCI. We entered into the second year of collaboration with the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA), and processed more than 1000 complaints against misleading advertisements received through their portal: Grievances Against Misleading Advertisements (GAMA - gama.gov.in). Encouraged by the success of the mobile app, we launched a WhatsApp Number +91 77100 12345 for consumers to send in complaints conveniently. ASCI continues to grow from strength to strength, and as the Chairman for 2015-16, I am very happy to have been an enabler for this journey."
The incoming Chairman, Srinivasan K. Swamy, states, "It is indeed an honour to be elected as Chairman of ASCI which has progressively contributed to effective self-regulation in advertising content. We are confident that the marketing and advertising sectors, industry bodies, regulators, consumer activists and the general public will actively seek ASCI's services and make self-regulation more relevant in the increasing competitive environment. ASCI will continue to engage with stakeholders such as Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Ministry of AYUSH, Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways (MORTH) to propagate self-regulation, in addition to DoCA. It is heartening to note that the Parliamentary Standing Committee has recognized the role played by ASCI and has recommended that it be given some legal teeth. I am therefore quite excited to take over the mantle as ASCI Chairman at this time when so many important things are on the anvil to further strengthen the principles of self-regulation. I hope to make 2016-17, yet another landmark year."
During the year 2015-16, the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) constituted by ASCI as an independent body (which has majority of its members drawn from civil society members including consumer activists, lawyers, doctors and educationists) met 49 times and deliberated on complaints against a total of 1389 advertisements. Of these, complaints against 891 advertisements were upheld, while 497 were not upheld, and a complaint against one advertisement was considered to be 'Non-issue'. As is the normal practice, all advertisers who do not follow recommendations to modify or withdraw the offending advertisement, will be referred to the concerned regulator for further action if they consider necessary.
The Advertising Standards Council of India is a self-regulatory organisation for the advertising industry. Established in 1985, ASCI's role has been acclaimed by various government agencies. It is recognised under 'The Cable Television Network Rules, 1994' which states that 'No advertisement which violates the code for self-regulation in advertising, as adopted by the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI), Mumbai, for public exhibition in India, from time to time, shall be carried in the cable service'.
ASCI is the executive arm of the Department of Consumer Affairs handling all complaints pertaining to misleading advertisements. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has also partnered with it to address misleading advertisements in the food and beverages sector.
The Role and Functioning of the ASCI and its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) is in dealing with complaints received from consumers and Industry, against advertisements which are considered as false, misleading, indecent, illegal, leading to unsafe practices, or unfair to competition, and consequently in contravention of the ASCI Code for Self-Regulation in Advertising.