ASCI updated the guidelines for brands regarding disclaimers made by them supporting, limiting or explaining claims made in advertisements
ASCI said that all disclaimers in television commercials or any other video advertisement on digital media should be clearly readable to consumers
There should not be more than one disclaimer in a single frame in an advertisement and it should be restricted to two full length lines, as per the updated guidelines
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) on Tuesday (January 24) updated the guidelines for brands regarding disclaimers supporting, limiting or explaining claims made in advertisements on digital and traditional media.
ASCI said that all disclaimers in television commercials or any other video advertisement on digital media should be clearly readable to consumers.
Besides, there should not be more than one disclaimer in a single frame in an advertisement and it should be restricted to two full length lines and remain on the screen for more than four seconds for every line.
If disclaimer exceeds two lines, additional hold duration should be accounted for. For the purposes of calculating the duration of hold of disclaimers, all forms of text appearing on screen at any one point in time should be counted, ASCI added.
This includes both disclaimer text and any text content in the main ad creative, regardless of where it appears on screen and whether or not it is repeated in audio, it said.
“While ASCI has had disclaimer guidelines since 2016, it was observed that overuse of disclaimers made it difficult for consumers to understand all the information presented in the ad,” ASCI CEO and Secretary-General Manisha Kapoor said.
“Hence, it is important that claims are crafted in a way that minimises the need for qualificatory disclaimers. Where disclaimers are needed, they should be presented in a manner that someone who is interested in reading them has the opportunity to do so,” Kapoor added.
It must be noted that the number of complaints against advertisers rose 14% year-on-year during April-September 2022, as per an ASCI report. During the six-month period, the industry body processed 3,340 complaints against 2,764 advertisements that were in potential violation of the ASCI code.
About 55% of these ads were spotted across the digital domain. The complaints against influencers constituted 28% of the total grievances for the April-September period.
Last week, the Consumer Affairs Ministry also released new endorsement guidelines under which social media influencers would be liable to pay heavy fines for violations.
As per the guidelines, influencers will have to make disclosures if there is a material connection between an advertiser and celebrity or influencer that may affect the credibility of the representation made by the celebrity or influencer.
In the most recent changes, citing the need for updating the guidelines, ASCI said that its recent survey of 130 consumers found that 80% of respondents did not notice the disclaimers in ads. Besides, 33% of respondents could not understand the disclaimers clearly even after adequate exposure time was provided, while 62% of respondents felt that the disclaimers were excessively long.
In the updated guidelines, ASCI prescribed that the use of disclaimer should be kept to a minimum.
It must be noted that the ASCI code requires that suitable disclaimers are used to properly explain and support claims made in ads to ensure that consumers can read all the information presented.