afaqs! news bureau

ASCI redefines celebrity status; places greater responsibility on social media influencers

The revised ASCI code defines celebrities as individuals who either earn a compensation of Rs 40 lakh annually for appearing in ads , or have a social media following of 500,000 or more.

Under the ASCI code, celebrities in advertisements are required to adhere to certain guidelines, ensuring their endorsements align with the code's principles. The guidelines demand that testimonials from celebrities accurately reflect their genuine opinions, based on sufficient knowledge or experience of the product or service being advertised. Celebrities must also conduct due diligence to substantiate the claims made in the advertisements.

The definition of celebrities has evolved with the rise of social media influencers, who hold significant sway over large audiences. As a result, ASCI has updated its code to encompass such influencers within the definition of celebrities.

The revised ASCI code defines celebrities as individuals who either earn a compensation of Rs 40 lakh or equivalent value annually for appearing in ads on any medium, or have a social media following of 500,000 or more on a single handle.

While the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 places due diligence responsibilities on all endorsers, celebrities with substantial followings are held to a higher standard due to their significant impact. ASCI has observed a notable increase in misleading ads featuring celebrities, indicating the need for stricter regulation. Despite legal obligations, many celebrities continue to participate in ads containing misleading claims.

Manisha Kapoor, CEO and Secretary General, ASCI, said: “With the advent of social media and the increasing popularity of influencers on digital media, the definition of celebrities has come to change drastically. Earlier, only personalities from the world of sports or entertainment were considered celebrities. Today, however, the scenario is different. We have a range of personalities who are extremely popular on social media and share a close personal connection with consumers. These personalities affect the spending habits of consumers who trust them. So, it’s vital to ensure consumer protection – especially when celebrities endorse products or services that can cause serious financial loss and physical harm. This update widens ASCI’s ambit and includes all those personalities who have a notable influence as celebrities. With this, we have taken yet another important step in furthering the cause of consumer safety with regard to advertising.”

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