Disclosures made in advertisements must be hard to miss and not mixed with a group of hashtags or links, said Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary to the Department of Consumer Affairs.
He made the remarks on Monday while virtually delivering an address at the #GetItRight Brand Influencer Summit 2023 organized by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) in Mumbai. The summit focused on the importance of responsible advertising practices and consumer protection. The Secretary added that disclosures should be superimposed over the image for endorsements in pictures, and for endorsements in videos, they should be made in both audio and video formats. In live streams, disclosures should be continuously displayed and prominently placed.
Further, he emphasized the duty of manufacturers, service providers, advertisers, and advertising agencies to ensure that their advertisements do not mislead consumers.
He cited the Consumer Protection Act 2019 passed by the Parliament, which provides protection against misleading advertisements. Singh differentiated between good and bad advertisements and stated that the government’s intention is not to obstruct the growth of businesses but rather to ensure ethical standards are met.
With over 75 crore internet users in India, of which 50 crore are social media users, Singh noted the paradigm shift from traditional advertising to social media advertising and the importance of conducting it responsibly, while stressing the need for influencers and celebrities to disclose any material connections with advertisers that may affect the credibility of their representation.