We’re called a toothless tiger, but our compliance is 98%: Manisha Kapoor, ASCI

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on September 10, 2020. The board elected Subhash Kamath, Chief Executive Officer, BBH & Publicis Worldwide, India, as the new Chairman. Kamath will take over the role from his predecessor, Rohit Gupta, President - Network Sales & International Business, Sony Pictures Networks India.

Also read: Subhash Kamath elected ASCI chairman

Under Rohit Gupta’s tenure as Chairman, ASCI continued its momentum in three areas of improvement. Strengthening its association with Government of India and other industry bodies to curb misleading ads; increase digital surveillance of misleading advertisements; and raise the total number of complaints processed by the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC).

Through various digital initiatives, ASCI was able to raise membership of the CCC by 10 per cent, including new players from e-commerce, fin-tech and ed-tech categories. It partnered with TAM Media Research to monitor 3,000 digital media platforms, including Google and Facebook, and track misleading ads as part of its SuoMoto surveillance (NAMS).

In its complaints analysis, ASCI reported receiving 7,772 complaints in 2019-2020, a growth of ~25 per cent, compared to the previous year. This included 4,682 direct complaints and 3,089 complaints flagged by its Suo Moto surveillance (NAMS). The regulatory body met 45 times during the year and deliberated on 3,773 advertisements. It upheld 2,126 advertisements, a growth of 43 per cent over last year.

Following the trend from the previous year, the biggest offenders in terms of misleading advertisements were the Education sector (2,000 complaints), followed by Healthcare (787), Personal Care (202) and Food & Beverages (175). Most importantly, out of the 2,126 advertisements upheld by ASCI, the compliance by media owners and advertisers was 98 per cent. Citing this data, newly appointed Secretary General of ASCI, Manisha Kapoor, remarked, “We’re often perceived as a toothless tiger in the industry, but that’s simply not true as you can see, we have 98 per cent compliance, which means most stakeholders adhere to ASCI guidelines.”

ASCI’s increased engagement on social platforms and ticker running on TV channels also continues to bear fruit as consumer complaints for digital media advertisements increased by 47 per cent (2019-2020) vis-à-vis 35 per cent (2018-19) to 30 per cent (2019-2020) on TV vis-à-vis 26 per cent (2018-2019). However, at 1,156 (out of 3,773) complaints, the share of print ads continues to dominate the pie.


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