The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has issued a list of 28 influencers on Instagram who were found violating the guidelines issues. These influencers include Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh and actress Jacqueline Fernandez.
According to the ASCI website, these 28 influencers violated guidelines that require these influencers to add “disclosure labels” on the first instance and on subsequent routine checks when promoting paid content.
Jacqueline Fernandez was found violating the guidelines and failed to add the disclosure label on a post where she was promoting Colorbar cosmetics.
If one notices, there is no tag disclosing that she was promoting paid content or posting a brand advertisement. This goes against ASCI guidelines.
Ranveer Singh on the other hand was promoting brand Manyavar, but failed to add the disclosure tag.
These also included MasterChef India 4 finalist Karishma Sakhrani and tech blogger Shlok Srivastava.
Manisha Kapoor, general secretary, ASCI said that the non-compliant cases are routinely escalated to the government. “We hope this signals to the industry that we are serious about consumer protection and pushing the agenda around misleading ads. And that we will continue to educate, collaborate to reach out to more and more influencers and brands to spread the message of responsibility and transparency in advertising.”
These influencers have millions of followers on Instagram, in fact, Ranveer Singh and Jacqueline Fernandez have a total of over 96 million followers put together.
Last year in June, ASCI made it mandatory for influencers to label their promotional posts to ensure transparency and safeguard the interests of consumers. The guidelines say that the influencers must label branded posts if there’s a material connection between them and the advertisers, failing which, both parties shall be held accountable.
According to the guidelines, the disclosure tags must be prominent so it is not missed by the consumers.
Following are the tags that the influencers are supposed to appropriately used:
The guidelines further say:
Responsibility of disclosure of material connection and also of the content of Advertisement is upon the Advertiser for whose product or service the advertisement is, and also upon the Influencer. For clarity, where Advertiser has a material connection with the Influencer, Advertiser’s responsibility will be to ensure that the posted Influencer advertisement is in line with the ASCI code and its Guidelines. While the Influencer shall be responsible for making disclosures required under the Guidelines. The Advertiser, shall, where needed, call upon the Influencer to delete or edit an advertisement or the disclosure label to adhere to the ASCI Code and Guidelines.
According to a report on Economic Times, between July and December 2021, 5,000 posts, stories and feeds from influencer handles were screened for complaints including those from end consumers. Out of all the complaints, 719 were in violation of the guidelines. 80% of influencers voluntarily amended or withdrew their posts and out of the remaining posts 86% complied after ASCI asked them to withdraw or modify their posts. The violations predominantly fell in the following categories: fashion and lifestyle (29%), cosmetics (19%), food and beverage (13%), and personal care (12%). Beauty etailer Nykaa showed up thrice on the list.