It covers a wide range of ad topics such as its validity, comparative and bait advertising, and expert endorsements among other topics.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs on 4 September 2020 published a draft on its website that contained guidelines "for the prevention of false or misleading advertisements as well the due diligence to be carried out for endorsements..."
It was from the Central Consumer Protection Authority or CCPA, a new creation under The Consumer Protection Act 2019 that came into effect on 20 July 2020 replacing a more than three decades old Consumer Protection Act 1986.
As per the draft, these guidelines cover all advertising/ marketing communications regardless of form, format or medium. Second, they apply to the manufacturer/service provider whose products/services are the subject of the advertising/marketing communications, as well as to advertisement agency and endorser (wherever applicable) of the product/service.
The guidelines cast a wide net:
In order to be considered valid, an advertisement shall:
1. Contain truthful and honest representations
2. Not mislead consumers by exaggerating the capability or performance or service of the product
Non-imitation of advertisements
1. An advertisement shall not be so similar in general layout, copy, slogans, visual presentation, music or sound effects to other advertisements or promotions so as to be likely to mislead or confuse the consumer.
2. An advertisement shall not be similar to previous advertisements published by any other advertiser in general layout, copy, slogans, visual presentation, music or sound effect so as to mislead or confuse the consumer.
In order for a comparative advertisement to be considered permissible:
(a) shall be factual, accurate and capable of substantiation;
(b) shall not present a good or service as an imitation or replica of a good or service with a protected trademark or trade name
1. An advertisement shall not seek to entice consumers to purchase a good or service without a reasonable prospect of selling the advertised good or service at the price offered.
2. An advertiser shall ensure that there is adequate supply of goods or services to meet foreseeable demand generated by such advertisement.
Advertisements for goods or services whose advertising is otherwise prohibited or restricted by law shall not circumvent such restrictions by purporting to be advertisements for other goods or services, the advertising of which is not prohibited or restricted by law.
1. Where an advertisement represents, directly or by implication, that the endorser is an expert with respect to the endorsement message, then the endorser’s qualifications shall, in fact, give the endorser the expertise that he is represented as possessing with respect to the endorsement.
2. Any expert endorsement shall be supported by an actual exercise of that expertise in evaluating product features or characteristics with respect to which he is an expert and which are relevant to an ordinary consumer’s use of or experience with the product:
Provided that an expert may, in endorsing a product, take into account other factors, not within his expertise, particularly subjective factors such as taste or price.
These are but a small round-up of the guidelines, the draft casts a wide net and you can read all the guidelines mentioned here.