New ad guidelines put curbs on surrogate advertisements

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Have you cringed at a top brand whiskey’s ad for club soda by the same name, showing exactly similarly packaged bottles?

Or for that matter, have you been sold a mineral water bottle bearing a name very similar to an established brand with a similar looking logo but having a minor difference in spelling?

Such advertisements are now banned under the new guidelines issued for advertisement by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

“The advertisement which indicates directly or indirectly that it is an advertisement for goods, products or services whose advertising is prohibited or restricted by law, or advertisement that use any brand name, logo, colour, layout and presentation associated with such goods, products or services, whose advertisement is prohibited or restricted will not be allowed,” said Nidhi Khare, Additional Secretary in the Department of Consumer Affairs, told mediapersons.

She was addressing the media in connection with the Central Consumer Protection Authority (Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Necessary Due Diligence for Endorsement of Advertisements) Guidelines, 2022 issued by the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) late on Thursday night and effective from Friday itself.

The relevant clause of the guidelines said: “No surrogate advertisement or indirect advertisement shall be made for goods or services whose advertising is otherwise prohibited or restricted by law, by circumventing such prohibition or restriction and portraying it to be an advertisement for other goods or services, advertising of which is not prohibited or restricted by law.”

The other relevant provision said: “Provided that mere use of a brand name or company name which may also be applied to goods, products or services whose advertising is prohibited or restricted shall not be considered to be surrogate advertisement or indirect advertisement, if such advertisement is not otherwise objectionable as per the provisions set out in these guidelines.”

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