Gaming emerges as top violator as digital scrutiny intensifies: ASCI report

Digital ads have emerged not just as a leading violator with 75 per cent of ads processed being from the digital space, but also as the least compliant, the Advertising Standards Council of India said

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Digital ads have emerged not just as a leading violator with 75 per cent of ads processed being from the digital space, but also as the least compliant, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) said in its annual complaints report for 2022-23.

The report, which is based on the review of 7,928 advertisements across various media, including print, digital, and television, has also highlighted several concerning trends regarding advertising in the digital space.

The ASCI has intensified its scrutiny of ads nearly two-fold over the last two years.

TV and print advertisers have maintained a high compliance rate of 94 per cent, the report reveals. However, the overall compliance rate dropped to 81 per cent due to digital advertising.

"The real-money gaming industry has become the most violative sector, surpassing the education sector, with 92 per cent of the gaming advertisements reviewed by ASCI failing to adhere to guidelines for real money gaming and not informing consumers about the risks of financial loss and addiction," the report stated.

The report further reveals that only 50 per cent of the ads were modified voluntarily after being called out.

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The ASCI had released guidelines for the real money gaming sector in December 2020, and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had released an advisory asking all parties to comply with the guidelines.

A sharp increase in the number of misleading ads featuring celebrities has been revealed by the report.

The ASCI had processed 503 such ads, as opposed to 55 the previous year, a growth of 803 per cent. In 97 per cent of these ads, the celebrities failed to provide evidence of due diligence as mandated by the Consumer Protection Act.

In addition, influencer violations stood at 26 per cent, with 2,039 complaints being processed against them. Categories, including personal care, food and beverage and fashion and lifestyle, topped the list of influencer-related violations.

"The digital advertising landscape is truly challenging us all and ASCI is no exception. Stepping up our surveillance through AI based tools and a robust complaint management system has ensured that ASCI is keeping pace with this dynamic environment," ASCI Chairman N.S. Rajan said.

"Updating our codes to reflect newer consumer concerns makes sure the ASCI codes remain contemporary. We will continue to act as the conscience keeper of the Indian ad industry with transparency and future-facing expertise," he said.

ASCI CEO and Secretary General Manisha Kapoor said: "The complaints analysis for 2022-23 clearly shows that the digital medium is leading in terms of violative ads. This raises significant concerns around online consumer safety and trust. Advertisers, content creators and platforms must come together to address this issue on an urgent basis to protect consumer interests. In addition, the sharp increase in the number of violative gaming ads needs serious attention from the industry."



(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: May 17 2023 | 10:45 PM IST

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