ASCI finds healthcare and illegal betting top violative sector in FY24

The Annual Complaints Report FY24 by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) reveals an increase in misleading ads and emphasises the need for stricter regulations. The self-regulatory body received over 10,000 complaints against ads in 2023-24, up 12.75 percent over the previous year.

By  Storyboard18May 22, 2024 7:20 PM
ASCI finds healthcare and illegal betting top violative sector in FY24
49 percent of the advertisements picked up by ASCI were not contested by the advertisers. A total of 98 percent of cases eventually required modification as they violated the ASCI Code. (Image source: Unsplash)

Healthcare, illegal betting apps, personal care, traditional education and food & beverage emerged as the top five violative categories, according to the Annual Complaints Report FY24 released by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). The self-regulatory body received over 10,000 complaints against ads in 2023-24, up 12.75 percent over the previous year.

In 2023-24, the healthcare sector accounted for 19 percent or 1,569 of 8,229 ads scrutinised by ASCI during the year; followed by illegal offshore betting and personal care ads, which accounted for 17 percent and 13 percent of all processed ads, respectively. According to the report, digital ads accounted for 85 percent of ads processed, and had a lower compliance rate of 75 percent, compared to 97 percent for print and TV. This raises serious questions about the online safety of consumers, as was highlighted last year as well. 94 percent of the ads that were processed were picked up suo moto by ASCI.

Saugata Gupta, Chairman, ASCI, said, “As digital emerges as a dominant media in which advertisements thrive, ASCI has geared up to the challenges through constant investment in technology. We will continue to improve our processes and expertise to ensure nimble and transparent resolution of objectionable ads. We look forward to collaborating with all stakeholders to promote ethical advertising and calling out advertisements that eventually erode trust in advertising.”

Manisha Kapoor, CEO & Secretary General, ASCI, added that the year 2023-24 has been truly challenging, and ASCI stepped up to this by focusing its efforts on digital. 3200 advertisements were shared with various regulators, such as MIB, Ayush, and MahaRera, for direct violations of the law, she mentioned.

“Sectors like healthcare emerging at the top are a significant concern for all citizens. With the highest number of violative ads seen online, advertisers and platforms must work more closely with regulators and self-regulators to keep consumers protected,” she added.

ASCI Academy’s recently launched e-learning courses on 'Responsible Advertising and Responsible Influencing' which is a step to increase the industry’s capacity to create ads with a greater understanding of regulatory standards and ensure that consumers are not exposed to objectionable advertising in the first place.

49 percent of the advertisements picked up by ASCI were not contested by the advertisers. A total of 98 percent of cases eventually required modification as they violated the ASCI Code.

Celebrities continued to appear in ads that were in violation of the ASCI code. ASCI processed complaints against 101 ads featuring celebrities, 91 percent of which required modification. 104 celebrities appearing in these 101 ads were found to be in violation of the celebrity guidelines as they could not provide any evidence of due diligence. It may be noted that due diligence is also a requirement under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. The top five violative categories for celebrity violations were personal care (22 percent), food and beverages (21 percent), illegal/betting (20 percent), healthcare (9 percent), and durables (6 percent).


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First Published on May 22, 2024 7:20 PM

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