ASCI tightens norms for auto and F&B ads

The self-regulatory body for advertising has introduced amendments in the codes for auto and foods & beverages advertising

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), the apex self-regulatory body that observes advertising content, has introduced additions to the codes for advertising of automotive vehicles and foods and beverages (F&B). The addition is directed at depicting safe, secure and healthy practices in advertisements.

“The additions to the ASCI advertising code is in line with the swift changes happening in the Indian advertising and marketing world. The recent set of guidelines for automotive vehicles and F&B seeks to make advertising content safer and healthier for the general public,” said Alan Colaco, secretary general of ASCI.

He also added that the number of complaints concerning automotive and F&B ads had risen, which resulted in ASCI tightening norms.

Earlier, there were no rules for automobile advertisements. But due to the recent changes in the automotive industry in India and its depiction to the potential viewer, ASCI has added fresh rules.

The recently-introduced guidelines for automotive vehicles’ advertising prohibit the portrayal of violation of traffic rules in any manner, showing reckless speed or manoeuvrability that could harm the driver, passengers or general public. The code is directed at promoting safe practices such as wearing of helmets, fastening of seatbelts and not using mobile phones while driving.

The code also discourages ads that show stunts or actions without a readable cautionary message on the potential dangers of the stunt.

“ASCI realises that cutthroat competition among products and the need for uniqueness can sometimes lead to senseless exaggeration and depiction of unsafe practices,” Mr Colaco added.

The code addendum on F&B advertising disallows advertisements from depicting personal changes in intelligence, physical ability or exceptional recognition unless scientifically substantiated.

It also adds that nutritional and health-benefit claims in F&B advertisements must have a substantiated scientific backing, including those ads for food products nutritionally designed as a meal replacement.

The recent addition in the F&B code also specifies that messages in ads to children must accurately portray the products in a manner that is in keeping with the child’s ability to understand the message. The code stresses on the importance of parental care and guidance in making the right choice for children.

The F&B code also prohibits advertisements and promotions from portraying over-consumption in any way. It also prohibits visual F&B presentation to be any different from its actual material characteristics.


Do annoying commercials work?

Releasing annoying ads is a very stupid ploy and is sure to damage the brand’s perception in the market place

This question recently bothered me. Because of two commercials currently on air during the IPL coverage. One cell phone ad features actor Akshay Kumar, where he laughs like a mule, and the sound is so grating, it shoots up the blood pressure by 40 points. Guaranteed to turn you off. Then there’s the Karbonn mobile phone commercial, starring cricketers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag, and it is flashed while an over is being bowled, often blanking out live match coverage, leaving fans seething with rage. Good old David Ogilvy once remarked, “You can’t bore your consumers into buying your product, you can only interest them into doing so.” Of course, he didn’t mention anything about annoying your way into the consumer’s heart and mind, in his days no such practice was followed.

Clearly, marketers and their ad agents aren’t such fools as to be wanting to annoy viewers deliberately. Surely there must be something to gain from this nefarious strategy. And going by the little research conducted in the West so far in this matter, there is some method behind this madness after all.

Here’s the general consensus: What essentially happens is that irritation through ads does lead to a degree of brand memorability, the consumer’s anger aiding in that process. It’s more than likely this tactic cannot work in the long term, but what it does in the immediate term is to create brand awareness pretty swiftly. And especially so for smaller brands that lack the ad budgets and the resources to carpet-bomb the media. So the clutter-break strategy is the reason for unleashing annoying creative on hapless viewers.

But research also indicates another thing: emotionally assaulting a consumer can never work in the long term. It can only induce a negative response. And I totally agree with this view. This strategy is like your neighbour chucking a stone into your house to attract attention. He does get that for sure, you notice and remember him vividly, but will you maintain good relations with him, would you invite him over for a drink? Very unlikely, even if he looks like Brad Pitt. So to my mind, releasing annoying ads is a very stupid ploy and is sure to damage the brand’s perception in the market place.

I’ll give you two examples. I conducted a small research of my own with my Facebook buddies, all in the younger age bracket. And every single one stated that they would never, ever purchase a Karbonn Mobile, so furious are they with the brand. Another thing: Notice that I do not even recall which cell phone is being hawked by the Akshay Kumar-Mule laughter ad. So even the quick awareness theory is questionable. Because the moment that ad comes on, I instantly switch to watching Krishi Darshan on good ol’ DD.




6 years ago

I do agree. I am totally aware of, if not already brainwashed by, the new Opel Insignia thanks to the YouTube and Vevo ads shuffed in my face all day. I see the purpose, and maybe necessity of such ads but it's the same ad all time. When I would be in the buying process and the choice was between that car and another similar car I would definitely choose the other. I don't want to be treated like that by advertisers. We're manipulated enough, just try a little harder to mask your efforts. Maybe try some subliminal shit, if you're not already doing so.


7 years ago

Well, you can please everyone at the same time, and this ad might have had definitely not pleased you. But it has supposedly pleased a lot other people (including me :)). There are a lot of Akki fans out there, and u never know, they must be just buying it as Akki is happy using it..!

kishore jagtiani

7 years ago

A really disgusting & sickening commercial, have we gone below the bottom & into deep muck. Really WEIRD. I found the commercial quite grating on the nerves. A real nerve wracking experience. Have we turned into idiotic morons?


7 years ago

Man!! Akshay has sold over 1.2 million hand sets in just a month period. Thats not any less achievement.


7 years ago

Why are you writing harsh on akki for doing a commercial ad? why this constant attack when the guy wants to entertain people than be serious. why sabatage his hard work, and before you criticise his ad, micromax has sold 2 million over product since akshay became their brand ambaassador.

SAIL in talks with Posco, Kobe for possible joint venture

A final decision on the proposed ventures for new iron-making technology for the steel giant will depend on techno-economic viability and regulatory approvals

Parliament has been informed that State-owned SAIL is in talks with South Korean steel major Posco and Japan’s Kobe Steel for technology tie-ups to jointly set up steel plants, reports PTI.

“In order to remain competitive, Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) is exploring the possibility of a technology tie-up for new iron-making technology like ‘Finex’ from Posco and ‘ITMK3’ from Kobe Steel through the joint venture route,” minister of state for steel
A Sai Prathap said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

The minister said that a final decision on the JV project would depend upon techno-economic viability and regulatory approvals.

Last week, steel secretary Atul Chaturvedi had said that the government is hopeful that a deal between SAIL and Posco for jointly setting up a Rs-15,000 crore steel plant in Jharkhand would be clinched by the end of next month.

Posco’s ‘Finex’ technology uses iron-ore fines and low-quality coal to produce high-grade steel, which could be further processed by SAIL to make specialised steel.

Similarly, ‘ITMK3’ (Iron Making Technology Mark Three) is a technology developed and owned by Kobe Steel, which uses iron ore fines and thermal coal to produce premium grade steel.

SAIL and Posco have already signed a memorandum of understanding for supply of technology and technical knowhow.

Posco’s proposed Rs54,000-crore steel plant in Orissa has been delayed for over four years, mainly on account of problems with land acquisition. This has prompted the South Korean firm to start looking for alternative opportunities in States like Jharkhand, Karnataka and Maharashtra.


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