New Government Regulations Prohibiting Surrogate Advertisement

New Government Regulations Prohibiting Surrogate Advertisement

Under legislation like the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, which prohibits all forms of direct and indirect tobacco product advertising, tobacco products and alcohol cannot be openly advertised in India.
 
Alcohol product vendors have sought the government for clarification on "surrogate commercials," which are now prohibited by the new rules designed to combat deceptive advertising. The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) released the rules on June 10, they include penalties of Rs.10 lakh for the first offence and Rs.50 lakh for successive offences. The Consumer Affairs Ministry informed of the guidelines' release, which came days after outcry over a contentious perfume advertisement.
 

What Are The New Advertising Standards?

To "protect the customers" and "guarantee that consumers are not being tricked by unfounded claims, exaggerated promises, disinformation, and misleading claims," the Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022, have been published. Ads that are deceptive and those that air during children's programming are the main topics of these rules.
Prelims Couse Ads
Meanwhile, all surrogate advertising has been prohibited.
Instead of defining misleading advertisements, non-misleading advertisement features such as those that "contain genuine and honest representation" and do not exaggerate benefits have been noted. Ads that promote behaviors harmful to children's physical or mental health or wellbeing, those that imply children will "likely be ridiculed or become less popular" if they do not purchase the goods, and those that use qualifiers like "just" or "only" to make the price of goods seem less expensive even when additional charges are present, are all examples of ads that fall under the detailed criteria laid out for disqualifying certain ads targeted at children.
 

What Does Surrogate Marketing Entail?

The method of marketing a product that cannot be openly advertised is known as surrogate advertising. Typically of explicitly advertising a product, advertisers instead construct ads that help develop a brand and frequently feature well-known celebrities. Under legislation like the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, which prohibits all forms of direct and indirect tobacco product advertising, tobacco products and alcohol cannot be openly advertised in India.
 
Surrogate advertising is used to circumvent them. Actor Pierce Brosnan was criticized by the Delhi authorities a few years ago for endorsing an Indian pan masala company. Brosnan alleged that the company "cheated" him and that he was not aware that the "breath freshener" advertisement was only a front for the areca nut, also known as supari, which the Delhi government believed to be a cancer-causing substance.
 

Why Do Advertisers Want Clarification?

According to the new regulations, a surrogate advertisement is one that makes it clear to consumers, either explicitly or implicitly, that it is an advertisement for a product for which advertising is prohibited. Additionally prohibited is the use of any brand name, logo, color, etc. connected to products for which advertising is prohibited.
 

About Central Consumer Protection Authority

Central Consumer Protection Authority

In accordance with Section 10(1) of the Consumer Protection Act of 2019, the Central Consumer Protection Authority is being established.
 
Goal: To uphold consumer rights by outlawing deceptive and unfair business activities as well as deceptive and false advertising that harms the general public and consumers.
 
Its headquarters will be in Delhi's National Capital Region, although the national government may also establish regional offices elsewhere throughout the nation.
 

Powers and capabilities:

New Government Regulations Prohibiting Surrogate Advertisement
Investigate or inquire into potential consumer rights violations or unfair business practices voluntarily, in response to a complaint, or at the request of the central government.
 
Recalling products or ceasing to provide services deemed "dangerous, harmful, or unsafe." Pass a resolution calling for the cancellation of unfair practices that harm consumers' interests and the refund of the cost of recalled goods and services to purchasers.
 
Impose a fine of up to Rs.10 lakh and a sentence of up to two years in prison on the creator or supporter of fraudulent and deceptive advertisements. For any successive offence committed by the same manufacturer or endorser, the fine may increase to Rs.50 lakh, with a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
 
For a term that may last up to a year, prohibit the endorser of a fraudulent or misleading commercial from endorsing any goods or services in the future. For any consecutive infraction of the Act, the prohibition may be increased by up to three years. 
 
Submit complaints to the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission for violations of consumer rights or unfair business practices.
 

Composition:

It will be led by a Chief Commissioner, and its membership will only consist of two other commissioners, one of which will handle cases involving products and the other instances involving services.
 
The Investigation Wing of the CCPA will be overseen by a Director General.
 
Additionally, District Collectors will have the authority to look into claims of consumer rights abuses, unfair business practices, and deceptive or false advertising. The following penalties apply to the production, sale, storage, distribution, or import of contaminated products:
 
1.    If no injury caused to customer, a fine of up to Rs.1 lakh and a maximum sentence of six months in jail may be imposed.
 
2.    If harm is done, a fine of up to Rs.3 lakh and up to a year in jail are possible penalties.
 
3.    A fine of up to Rs.5 lakh and a sentence of up to 7 years in prison if serious harm is done.
 
4.    If there is a death, there will be a fine of at least Rs.10 lakh and a minimum sentence of 7 years in jail, which can be increased to a life sentence.

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