At the board meeting, following the 33rd Annual General Meeting of The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) held today, Mr. Rohit Gupta, President, Sony Pictures Networks was unanimously elected the Chairman of the Board of Governors of ASCI. Mr Rohit Gupta is an accomplished industry veteran having spent over 30 years in holding key leadership positions across consumer, media and entertainment industries.
Mr. Subhash Kamath, Managing Partner, BBH Communications India Pvt Ltd was elected the Vice-Chairman and Mr. Shashi Sinha, CEO, Media Brands Pvt Ltd, was re-appointed the Honorary Treasurer.
Members of the Board of Governors include; Mr. Girish Agarwal (Director, Dainik Bhaskar Group), Mr. Vikas Agnihotri (Director Sales, Google India Pvt. Ltd.), Mr. Prasun Basu (President – South Asia, Nielsen (India) Pvt. Ltd.), Mr. Harish Bhat (Director, Tata Global Beverages Ltd.), Mr. Madhusudan Gopalan (CEO, Procter & Gamble Hygiene and Health Care Ltd.), Mr. Sandeep Kohli (Executive Director & Vice President, Personal Care Hindustan Unilever Ltd), Prof S.K. Palekar (Adjunct Professor & Advisor, Executive Education Institute of Management Technology), Mr. N.S. Rajan (Managing Director, Ketchum Sampark Pvt Ltd), Ms. Abanti Sankaranarayanan (Former Vice Chairperson, CIABC), Mr. D Shivakumar (Group Executive President, Aditya Birla Management Corporation Pvt. Ltd.), Mr. Umesh Shrikhande (CEO, Taproot India Comm. P. Ltd.), Mr. K.V. Sridhar (Founder & Chief Creative Ofﬁcer (Director), Hyper Collective Creative Technologies Pvt Ltd), Mr. Sivakumar Sundaram (President Revenue, Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd).
Recalling his year at ASCI, the outgoing Chairman Mr. D Shivakumar, said, “ASCI is a voluntary job and a board led organisation. When I set out last year as the Chairman I had three objectives laid out. The first was to increase our membership base, the second to go digital and third to create awareness among consumers. Now thanks to the MIB directive our awareness has increased immensely, our WhatsApp number has seen a 3X increase in daily messages. We have increased our member base by 10%, our new members representing e-commerce, food & beverage, automotive sectors joining ASCI. ASCI’s digital marketing campaigns would further boost awareness as well as compliance. I wish Rohit and the board the best for the year ahead.”
The incoming Chairman, Mr. Rohit Gupta, said, “I am honoured to accept this role and look forward to the year ahead. With the inclusion of the internet into our everyday life and the constant evolution in the digital space, I feel that synchronizing ASCI’s efforts in the Digital space will be our key focus for the year. The Council has covered a lot of ground in addressing the need for self-regulation in the digital medium and work is progressing rapidly to address that need. Additionally, we will continue our efforts to strengthen relationships with stakeholders in the year ahead.”
The independent Consumer Complaints Council met 44 times during the year and deliberated on complaints pertaining to 2898 advertisements. Of these, 732 advertisements were promptly withdrawn as soon as the advertiser received communication from ASCI. Complaints were upheld against 1486 advertisements whilst complaints against 475 advertisements were not upheld. 205 advertisements were found to be, prima facie, in violation of The Drugs & Magic Remedies (DMR) Act or The Drugs & Cosmetics Rules (Schedule J) and were promptly escalated to the concerned regulator for immediate attention. In all, 937 advertisements were dealt with immediately through the Informal Resolution (IR) process and escalation to regulators, hence providing speedy redressal of complaints and making ASCI’s process more efficient.
About The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI)
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), established in 1985, is committed to the cause of self- regulation in advertising ensuring the protection of the interest of consumers. ASCI seeks to ensure that advertisements conform to its Code for Self-Regulation, which requires advertisements to be legal, decent, honest and truthful and not hazardous or harmful while observing fairness in competition. ASCI looks into complaints across ALL MEDIA such as Print, TV, Radio, hoardings, SMS, Emailers, Internet / web-site, product packaging, brochures, promotional material and point of sale material etc. In January 2017, the Supreme Court of India in its judgement affirmed and recognized the self-regulatory mechanism as an effective pre-emptive step to statutory provisions in the sphere of advertising content regulation for TV and Radio in India. ASCI’s role has been acclaimed by various Government bodies including The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Ministry of AYUSH as well as the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB). MIB issued an advisory for a scroller providing ASCI’s WhatsApp for Business number 77100 12345, to be carried by all TV broadcasters for consumers to register their grievance against objectionable advertisements. ASCI is a part of the Executive Committee of International Council on Ad Self-Regulation (ICAS). Among several awards bestowed by the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA), ASCI bagged a Gold Global Best Practice Award for the Mobile App “ASCIonline” (2016). As well as a special recognition for its “Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising” at the first-ever ‘Global Awards for Effective Advertising Self-Regulation’ hosted by the ICAS (2019).