A. Overview

SECTION A OVERVIEW

 

This database uploaded 2/12/22

 

Spotting greenwashing con artists, BGT legal June 2023

ASCI Annual Complaints report 2022/23 May 2023

ASCI Wielding Influence, Nurturing Trust Feb 2023

ASCI Influencer Trust Report Feb 2023

Online Gaming bets on federal level rules

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas/ Lex. May 23, 2023

SEBI advertisement code April 2023

Dark Patterns Guidelines ASCI June 2023

The ASCI Academy August 28, 2023

Decoding India's Data Protection Law (EN)
Trilegal October 25, 2023. Act here

ASCI environmental claims guidelines 

Consultation/ feedback until Dec 31, 2023

Final guidelines here January 18, 2024

Summary charts Environment GALA Dec 7, 2023

DI landscape Indian advertising. Kantar Dec 2023

Future of targeted and behavioral advertising in India

Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan January 15, 2024

Consumer Protection & Advertising Legal Milestones

Trilegal February 12, 2024 Issues Dark patterns, brand extensions

 

IN SUMMARY

 

 

https://www.g-regs.com/downloads/INGenoverviewregulation.png

 

The above overview is from the lawyers identified in the chart. Statutory developments in the form of the Consumer Protection Act 2019 and the 2022 advertising guidelines from the CCPA are relatively recent and there appears to be some 'regulatory settling down' in the jurisdiction. The situation depicted visually above is anyway not unusual (though its application may be) and might be familiar in a number of countries in Europe. What is unusual is that advertising complaints can be made direct to government via this portal, though 'authorities' nominated to deal with the complaint include self-regulatory bodies. ASCI is a well regarded and resourced self-regulatory organisation and its code is well established, but it's important to be aware of the new statutory influences in advertising regulation and especially the associated guidelines, which are unusual in being advertising related; most statutory authorities internationally are less advertising-specific and more commercial practices related. We will see how aggressively the statutory authority CCPA pursues its agenda and how they and ASCI work together.

 

RECENT ISSUES/ NEWS

 

ASCI/Dept Consumer Affairs re surrogate advertising Feb 23, 2024

CCPA guidelines for prevention and regulation of greenwashing

Response by March 21. Commentary from Arogya Legal here 

ASCI environmental claims guidelines 

Above are the final guidelines January 18, 2024

Commentary on above Anand & Anand Jan 22, 2024

 

SELF-REGULATION

 

India enjoys a robust self-regulatory system, administered by ASCI, the Advertising Standards Council of India. From their website: 'ASCI was established in 1985. ASCI is a voluntary self-regulatory organisation comprising members from marketing, creative, media, and allied companies in India. Since its inception, ASCI has been committed to protecting Indian consumers’ interests through self-regulation in advertising. ASCI was formed with the support of all four sectors connected with advertising, viz. advertisers, advertising agencies, media (including broadcasters and the press) and others such as PR agencies, market research companies etc.' Membership is here.

 

The code for self-regulation of advertising content in India  (EN)

 

The code includes 'general' rules, i.e. those on misleadingness, decency, offense, fair competition etc. as well as sections on Automotive vehicles (April 2008), Brand extensions (July 2021), Foods & Beverages (F&B; February 2013), Educational institutions and programs (April 2022), Disclaimers (October 2016) New/ improved (June 2014), Skin lightening (August 2014), Celebrities (April 2022), Awards/ rankings (April 2022), Online gambling (April 2022), Influencer advertising in digital media (April 2022), Online gambling (April 2022), Virtual digital assets (February 2022), Gender stereotypes guidelines (June 2022). The key rules are set out in our following Content Section B and there are some 'highlights' below, or click on the linked code. The ASCI code is based on/ updated to the ICC Code.
 

INFLUENCER MARKETING/ ENDORSEMENTS

 

From the self-regulatory organisation ASCI: Guidelines for Influencer advertising in digital media (the link will take you to a downloadable pdf.) published June 2021 and therefore relatively recent and a significant part of ASCI's role, as the influencer industry has grown substantially worldwide and India, where it is 'rapidly burgeoning', is no exception. From the ASCI complaints half-yearly report April-September 2022: 'Non-disclosure by Influencers Advertising in Digital Media continue to contribute heavily to ads processed. 28% of ads were in violation of the Influencer Guidelines.' ASCI has put in place 'a partnership with French technology provider, Reech, to help identify lack of influencer transparency on social media. In addition to complaints received by public and other agencies, ASCI’s suo moto on its own motion surveillance has also started to flag potential violations of the guidelines.' Additionally, from the CCPA's Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements 2022 (CCPA guidelines): 14. Disclosure of material connection (incidentally, the same term used by ASCI). 'Where there exists a connection between the endorser and the trader, manufacturer or advertiser of the endorsed product that might materially affect the value or credibility of the endorsement and the connection is not reasonably expected by the audience, such connection shall be fully disclosed in making the endorsement.' In January 2023 the Department of Consumer Affairs, who administer the Consumer Protection Act, issued 'Endorsement know-hows'  on when and how to disclose a 'material relationship.' Commentary from SS Rana/ Lex here. Additional Influencer Guidelines for Health and Wellness Celebrities, Influencers and Virtual Influencers published August 10, 2023 by the Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) is found here. A useful summary of Influencer rules from Kan & Krishme/ GALA December 7, 2023 is here.

 

CHILDREN

 

NCPCR Notice to Cadbury Bournvita S S Rana and Co./ Lex May 9, 2023

 

Both the ASCI code, which defines children as 'persons who are below the age of 12 years,' and the CCPA guidelines contain provisions for children's advertising, the former under Chapter III Harmful products/ situations and the latter under article 8, extracted here. Key clauses are shown in our following content section B and they are also assembled here in a table that shows the two sets of provisions alongside each other. The CCPA guidelines definition is per clause (12) of section 2 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 - a person 'who has not completed 18 years of age.' A useful summary of children's rules from Kan & Krishme/ GALA December 7, 2023 is here.

 

GAMBLING

 

Recent Guidelines to Regulate Online Real Money Games in India. GALA June 2, 2023

A general introduction to gambling law in India. Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co./ Lex. May 30, 2023

India’s Government Asks Google to Remove Ads for International Betting Companies. Gambling Industry News December 7, 2022

 

Gambling regulation in India is largely state-driven and betting and gambling is illegal in most parts of the country. Advisory note of June 2022 from Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) hereThe ASCI self-regulatory code carries a section on online gambling, or to give it its full title: 'Online gaming for real money winnings.' This includes rules on warning messages and their formatting. The full gambling section has been extracted from the code and is linked here. Note that gambling advertising, as with all advertising, is subject to the full ASCI code; adjudications will often be made under rules related to misleadingness, decency etc. from the 'general' section of the code, so this context should also be understood. The file linked above from Anand and Anand under recent issues/ news also addresses gambling advertising rules.


14 ads found to be in potential violation of the ASCI code in first week of cricket extravaganza

ASCI press release April 2022 

Strong-Worded Advisory by the MIB on Advertisements of Online Betting Platforms (EN)

GALA November 1, 2022

 

ALCOHOL 

 

According to the Anand and Anand file linked above, advertising alcoholic beverages is banned in India as per the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Amendment Bill, which came into effect on 8 September 2000. Private channels often permit alcohol companies to advertise using surrogate means, such as selling the brand name for soda or water or music.

 

GENDER STEREOTYPES AND INCLUSION

 

ASCI’s guidelines on harmful gender stereotypes
~ Guidelines lay down boundaries for unacceptable portrayals and
encourage advertisers to create more progressive gender depictions ~

 

ASCI bats for greater inclusion in advertising  May 25, 2022

 

RULINGS/ 'RECOMMENDATIONS'

 

'ASCI's independent jury (The Consumer Complaints Council or CCC) comprises 40 eminent professionals, both from the industry as well as from civil society, who review complaints on a weekly basis and provide their recommendations.' Link to the recommendations database is here and the Half Yearly Complaints Report - April to September 2022 is also linked. Extracted from the latter: 'Education overall continues to be the most violative sector covering 27% of all the ads processed. 22% ads belonged to classical education and the 5% to the Ed Tech sector. Personal Care and F&B follow are the other two sectors to make it to the top 3 owing to high volume of advertising by influencers.'

 

CONSUMER PROTECTION LEGISLATION, AD GUIDELINES AND AUTHORITY

 

Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (EN)

This act, applicable to 'all goods and services', is very signifcant legislation in the context of the advertising regulatory system in India, playing a similar role to that of the UCPD in the EU. The act established the Central Consumer Protection Authority and includes in the CCPA 'powers and functions' that they '(c) ensure that no false or misleading advertisement is made of any goods or services which contravenes the provisions of this Act or the rules or regulations made thereunder and (d) ensure that no person takes part in the publication of any advertisement which is false or misleading.' The act defines advertising in broad terms: 'an advertisement means any audio or visual publicity, representation, endorsement or pronouncement made by means of light, sound, smoke, gas, print, electronic media, internet or website and includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper, invoice or such other documents.'

 

Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) established by the act above to 'promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.' Government press release here (EN)

 

Guidelines to provide for the prevention of false or misleading advertisements from the CCPA (EN). This is a recent (2022) and highly significant addition to the advertising regulatory framework, covering issues such as Conditions for non-misleading and valid advertisements, Conditions for bait advertisements, Prohibition of surrogate advertising, Free claims, Children targeted ads, Disclaimers, Disclosure of material connection (also see above under Influencer marketing). Extracts are in our following content section B. The guidelines are applicable to 'all advertisements regardless of form, format or medium.'

 

Consumer Protection (e-Commerce) Rules 2020

The above rules are among a number of pieces of secondary legislation that derive from the Consumer Protection Act 2019. Most don't address commercial communications, which are covered by the CCPA advertising guidelines linked earlier in this section, but these e-commerce rules are obviously significant in of themselves and as some content on e-commerce platforms may be deemed to be advertising and therefore in remit; additionally, the rules linked above carry provisions for sellers on e-commerce platforms under article 6 (4c).

 

The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, known as the CTN act. From the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MiB). The act includes reference under article 6 to an associated advertising code, set out in our Channel Section C under the TV and Radio header. The code requires inter alia that advertisements must also observe the ASCI code. 

 

SOME LEGAL COMMENTARY

 

Consumer protection laws in India. Acuity Law/ Lex. June 2021 (EN)

CCPA guidelinesAcuity Law blog August 2022 (EN)

Guidelines for Prevention and Regulation of Dark Patterns

Issued by the CCPA November 30, 2023

Legal analysis of tobacco and alcohol advertising laws in India
TMT Law Practice. September 14, 2023

Guidelines for Online Deceptive Design Patterns in Advertising. ASCI; effective September 1, 2023

Dark Patterns issues GALA Dec 7 2023 here and Cyril Armachand here Jan 9, 2024

In brief: prohibited and controlled advertising in IndiaAnand and Anand/ Lex. March 28, 2023

Are you ready for India's new advertising laws? (EN)

Khaitan and co/ Mondaq. November 2022. This a ppt. deck with a succinct and helpful overview of the advertising regulatory situation

 

DATA PROTECTION

 

The Digital Personal Data Protection Act 2023

btg/advaya webinar Nov 29, 2023; content here; on demand here

btg:advaya privacy microsite here

The Information Technology Act, 2008

Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011 here

The above two entries are the rules that will most 'keenly impact' companies; source is the entry below

India - Data Protection Overview. One Trust data guidance November 2022. This is a clear and complete summary of the data protection framework in India 

DLA Piper Data Protection Laws of the World - India. Copyrighted 2022

Draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill open to consultation until 17th December, 2022 (the govt. withdrew a 2019 draft bill)

Commentary on the above from The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) November 22, 2022

 

 

 

................................................................

B. Content Rules

SECTION B CONTENT RULES

 

 

 

This section is longer than most. In order to make navigation easier, some points are 'anchored' and linked to respective text 

 

 

1. THE CODE FOR SELF-REGULATION OF ADVERTISING CONTENT IN INDIA 

 

1.1. Chapters I to IV; 'general' rules

1.2. Guidelines for various sectors (non exhaustive)

 

2. CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT 2019

 

2.1. Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements 2022

 

3. THE ADVERTISEMENT CODE derived from the Cable Television Networks Act

 

 

1. THE CODE FOR SELF-REGULATION OF ADVERTISING CONTENT IN INDIA 
https://ascionline.in/images/pdf/code_book.pdf
CHAPTER I. TRUTHFUL & HONEST REPRESENTATION

 

 

To ensure truthfulness and honesty of representations and claims made by advertisements, and to safeguard against misleading advertisements

 

  • 1.1. Advertisements must be truthful. All descriptions, claims and comparisons, which relate to matters of objectively ascertainable fact, should be capable of substantiation. Advertisers and advertising agencies are required to produce such substantiation as and when called upon to do so by The Advertising Standards Council of India.
  • 1.2. Where advertising claims are expressly stated to be based on, or supported by independent research or assessment, its source and date should be indicated in the advertisement.
  • 1.3. Advertisements shall not, without permission from the person, firm or institution under reference, contain any reference to such person, firm or institution, which confers an unjustified advantage on the product advertised or tends to bring the person, firm or institution into ridicule or disrepute. If and when required to do so by The Advertising Standards Council of India, the advertiser and the advertising agency shall produce explicit permission from the person, firm or institution to which reference is made in the advertisement.
  • 1.4. Advertisements shall neither distort facts nor mislead the consumer by means of implications or omissions. Advertisements shall not contain statements or visual presentation, which directly, or by implication or by omission or by ambiguity or by exaggeration, are likely to mislead the consumer about the product advertised or the advertiser, or about any other product or advertiser.
  • 1.5. Advertisements shall not be so framed as to abuse the trust of consumers, or exploit their lack of experience or knowledge. No advertisement shall be permitted to contain any claim so exaggerated as to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. For example:

 

  1. Products shall not be described as `free’ where there is any direct cost to the consumer other than the actual cost of any delivery, freight, or postage. Where such costs are payable by the consumer, a clear statement that this is the case shall be made in the advertisement.
  2. Where a claim is made that if one product is purchased, another product will be provided `free’, the advertiser is required to show, as and when called upon by The Advertising Standards Council of India, that the price paid by the consumer for the product which is offered for purchase with the advertised incentive is no more than the prevailing price of the product without the advertised incentive
  3. Claims which use expressions such as “up to five years guarantee” or “Prices from as low as Rs.Y” are not acceptable if there is a likelihood of the consumer being misled, either as to the extent of the availability, or as to the applicability of the benefits offered.
  4. Special care and restraint has to be exercised in advertisements addressed to those suffering from weakness, any real or perceived inadequacy of any physical attributes such as height or bust development, obesity, illness, impotence, infertility, baldness and the like, to ensure that claims or representations, directly or by implication, do not exceed what is considered prudent by generally accepted standards of medical practice and the actual efficacy of the product.
  5. Advertisements inviting the public to invest money shall not contain statements which may mislead the consumer in respect of the security offered, rates of return or terms of amortisation; where any of the foregoing elements are contingent upon the continuance of, or change in existing conditions, or any other assumptions, such conditions or assumptions must be clearly indicated in the advertisement.
  6. Advertisements inviting the public to take part in lotteries or prize competitions permitted under law, or which hold out the prospect of gifts, shall state clearly all material conditions as to enable the consumer to obtain a true and fair view of their prospects in such activities. Further, such advertisers shall make adequate provisions for the judging of such competitions, announcement of the results and the fair distribution of prizes or gifts according 11 to the advertised terms and conditions within a reasonable period of time. With regard to the announcement of results, it is clarified that the advertiser’s responsibility under this section of the Code is discharged adequately if the advertiser and results in the media used to announce the competition, as far as is practicable and advises the individual winners by post.

 

  • 1.6. Obvious untruths or exaggerations intended to amuse or to catch the eye of the consumer are permissible, provided that they are clearly to be seen as humorous or hyperbolic, and not likely to be understood as making literal or misleading claims for the advertised product.
  • 1.7. In mass manufacturing and distribution of goods and services it is possible that there may be an occasional and unintentional lapse in the fulfilment of an advertised promise or claim. Such occasional and unintentional lapses may not invalidate the advertisement in terms of this Code. In judging such issues, due regard shall be given to the following:

 

  1. Whether the claim or promise is capable of fulfilment by a typical specimen of the product advertised.
  2. Whether the proportion of product failures is within generally acceptable limits.
  3. Whether the advertiser has taken prompt action to make good the deficiency to the consumer.

 

 

CHAPTER II. NON-OFFENSIVE TO PUBLIC

 

To ensure that advertisements are not offensive to generally accepted standards of public decency.

 

  • Advertisements should contain nothing indecent, vulgar, especially in the depiction of women, or nothing repulsive which is likely, in the light of generally prevailing standards of decency and propriety, to cause grave and widespread offence.

 

 

CHAPTER III. AGAINST HARMFUL PRODUCTS / SITUATIONS

 

To safeguard against the indiscriminate use of advertising in situations or of the promotion of products which are regarded as hazardous or harmful to society or to individuals, particularly children, to a degree, or of a type which is unacceptable to society at large.

 

  • 3.1. No advertisement shall be permitted which:

  1. Tends to incite people to crime or to promote disorder and violence or intolerance.
  2. Derides any individual or groups on the basis of race, caste, colour, religion, gender, body shape, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental conditions, or nationality.
  3. Presents criminality as desirable, or directly or indirectly encourages people - particularly children - to emulate it, or conveys the modus operandi of any crime.
  4. Adversely affects friendly relations with a foreign State.

 

  • 3.2. Advertisements addressed to children shall not contain anything, whether in illustration or otherwise, which might result in their physical, mental or moral harm, or which exploits their vulnerability. For example, advertisements:

  1. Should not encourage children to enter strange places or converse with strangers in an effort to collect coupons, wrappers, labels, or the like.
  2. Should not feature dangerous or hazardous acts which are likely to encourage children to emulate such acts in a manner which could cause harm or injury.
  3. Should not show children using or playing with matches or any inflammable or explosive substance; or playing with, or using sharp knives, guns or mechanical or electrical appliances, the careless use of which could lead to their suffering cuts, burns, shocks or other injury.
  4. Should not feature children for tobacco or alcohol-based products.
  5. Should not feature personalities from the field of sports and entertainment for products which, by law, require a health warning such as “………….. is injurious to health” in their advertising or packaging.

 

  • 3.3. Advertisements shall not, without justifiable reason, show or refer to dangerous practices, or manifest a disregard for safety, or encourage negligence.
  • 3.4. Advertisements should contain nothing which is in breach of the law, nor omit anything which the law requires.
  • 3.5. Advertisements shall not propagate products, the use of which is banned under the law.
  • 3.6. Advertisements for products whose advertising is prohibited or restricted by law or by this Code must not circumvent such restrictions by purporting to be advertisements for other products, the advertising of which is not prohibited or restricted by law, or by this Code. In judging whether or not any particular advertisement is an indirect advertisement for a product whose advertising is restricted or prohibited, due attention shall be paid to the following:

  1. Whether the unrestricted product, which is purportedly sought to be promoted through the advertisement under the complaint, is produced and distributed in reasonable quantities, having regard to the scale of the advertising in question, the media used and the markets targeted.
  2. Whether there exist in the advertisement under complaint, any direct or indirect clues or cues which could suggest to consumers that it is a direct or indirect advertisement for the product whose advertising is restricted or prohibited by law or by this Code.
  3. Where advertising is necessary, the mere use of a brand name or company name that may also be applied to a product whose advertising is restricted or prohibited, is not a reason to find the advertisement objectionable, provided the advertisement is not objectionable in terms of (a) and (b) above.

 

CHAPTER IV.  FAIR IN COMPETITION

 

To ensure that advertisements observe fairness in competition such that the consumer’s need to be informed on choice in the marketplace and the canons of generally accepted competitive behavior in business are both served.

 

  • 4.1. Advertisements containing comparisons with other manufacturers or suppliers, or with other products, including those where a competitor is named, are permissible in the interests of vigorous competition and public enlightenment, provided:

  1. It is clear what aspects of the advertiser’s product are being compared with what aspects of the competitor’s product.
  2. The subject matter of comparison is not chosen in such a way as to confer an artificial advantage upon the advertiser or so as to suggest that a better bargain is offered than is truly the case.
  3. The comparisons are factual, accurate and capable of substantiation.
  4. There is no likelihood of the consumer being misled as a result of the comparison, whether about the product advertised or that with which it is compared.
  5. The advertisement does not unfairly denigrate, attack or discredit other products, advertisers or advertisements directly or by implication.

  • 4.2. Advertisements shall not make unjustifiable use of the name or initials of any other firm, company or institution, nor take unfair advantage of the goodwill attached to the trademark or symbol of another firm, its product or the goodwill acquired by its advertising campaign.
  • 4.3. Advertisements shall not be similar to any other advertiser’s earlier run advertisements in general layout, copy, slogans, visual presentations, music or sound effects, so as to suggest plagiarism.
  • 4.4. As regards matters covered by sections 2 and 3 above, complaints of plagiarism of advertisements released earlier abroad will lie outside the scope of this Code, except in the under-mentioned circumstances:

  1. The complaint is lodged within 12 months of the first general circulation of the advertisements/campaign complained against.
  2. The complainant provides substantiation regarding the claim of prior invention/usage abroad.

 

 

AUTOMOTIVE VEHICLES (April 1, 2008)

 

Preamble

 

Advertisements have a significant influence on people’s behaviour. As such, advertisers are encouraged to depict advertisements in a manner which promotes safe practices, e.g., wearing of helmets and fastening of seat belts, not using mobiles/ cell phones when driving, etc.

 

Guidelines

 

Specifically, advertisements should not:

 

  1. Portray violation of traffic rules.
  2. Show speed maneuverability in a manner which encourages unsafe or reckless driving, which could harm the driver, passengers and/or the general public.
  3. Show stunts or actions, which require professional driving skills, in normal traffic conditions, which in any case should carry a readable cautionary message drawing viewer attention to the depiction of stunts. 
CHILDREN
From Chapter III of the ASCI code Harmful products/ situations

 

  • 3.2. Advertisements addressed to children shall not contain anything, whether in illustration or otherwise, which might result in their physical, mental or moral harm, or which exploits their vulnerability. For example, advertisements: 

  1. Should not encourage children to enter strange places or converse with strangers in an effort to collect coupons, wrappers, labels, or the like.
  2. Should not feature dangerous or hazardous acts which are likely to encourage children to emulate such acts in a manner which could cause harm or injury.
  3. Should not show children using or playing with matches or any inflammable or explosive substance; or playing with, or using sharp knives, guns or mechanical or electrical appliances, the careless use of which could lead to their suffering cuts, burns, shocks or other injury.
  4. Should not feature children for tobacco or alcohol-based products.
  5. Should not feature personalities from the field of sports and entertainment for products which, by law, require a health warning such as “………….. is injurious to health” in their advertising or packaging.

Additionally, clause 3.1 provides: No advertisement shall be permitted which...(c) Presents criminality as desirable, or directly or indirectly encourages people - particularly children (italics ours) - to emulate it, or conveys the modus operandi of any crime.

 

The CCPA advertising guidelines also carry some significant provisions under article 8 on children’s targeted advertising. See below.

 

 

 

https://www.indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/15256/1/A2019-35.pdf

 

2. Definitions. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, (1) "advertisement" means any audio or visual publicity, representation, endorsement or pronouncement made by means of light, sound, smoke, gas, print, electronic media, internet or website and includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper, invoice or such other documents;

 

  • Chapter I Section 2 article 28 "misleading advertisement" in relation to any product or service, means an advertisement which:

 

  1. falsely describes such product or service; or
  2. gives a false guarantee to, or is likely to mislead the consumers as to the nature, substance, quantity or quality of such product or service; or
  3. conveys an express or implied representation which, if made by the manufacturer or seller or service provider thereof, would constitute an unfair trade practice; or
  4. deliberately conceals important information;

..........................................

 

  • Article (47)  "unfair trade practice" means a trade practice which, for the purpose of promoting the sale, use or supply of any goods or for the provision of any service, adopts any unfair method or unfair or deceptive practice including any of the following practices, namely:
     
  1. making any statement, whether orally or in writing or by visible representation including by means of electronic record, which:

 

  1. falsely represents that the goods are of a particular standard, quality, quantity, grade, composition, style or model;
  2. falsely represents that the services are of a particular standard, quality or grade;
  3. falsely represents any re-built, second-hand, renovated, reconditioned or old goods as new goods;
  4. represents that the goods or services have sponsorship, approval, performance, characteristics, accessories, uses or benefits which such goods or services do not have;
  5. represents that the seller or the supplier has a sponsorship or approval or affiliation which such seller or supplier does not have;
  6. makes a false or misleading representation concerning the need for, or the usefulness of, any goods or services;
  7. gives to the public any warranty or guarantee of the performance, efficacy or length of life of a product or of any goods that is not based on an adequate or proper test thereof: Provided that where a defence is raised to the effect that such warranty or guarantee is based on adequate or proper test, the burden of proof of such defence shall lie on the person raising such defence;
  8. makes to the public a representation in a form that purports to be:

 

  1. a warranty or guarantee of a product or of any goods or services; or
  2. a promise to replace, maintain or repair an article or any part thereof or to repeat or continue a service until it has achieved a specified result, if such purported warranty or guarantee or promise is materially misleading or if there is no reasonable prospect that such warranty, guarantee or promise will be carried out;

 

  1. materially misleads the public concerning the price at which a product or like products or goods or services, have been or are, ordinarily sold or provided, and, for this purpose, a representation as to price shall be deemed to refer to the price at which the product or goods or services has or have been sold by sellers or provided by suppliers generally in the relevant market unless it is clearly specified to be the price at which the product has been sold or services have been provided by the person by whom or on whose behalf the representation is made;
  2. gives false or misleading facts disparaging the goods, services or trade of another person.

 

Explanation. For the purposes of this sub-clause, a statement that is:
 

 

  1. expressed on an article offered or displayed for sale, or on its wrapper or container; or
  2. expressed on anything attached to, inserted in, or accompanying, an article offered or displayed for sale, or on anything on which the article is mounted for display or sale; or
  3. contained in or on anything that is sold, sent, delivered, transmitted or in any other manner whatsoever made available to a member of the public, shall be deemed to be a statement made to the public by, and only by, the person who had caused the statement to be so expressed, made or contained;

 

  1. permitting the publication of any advertisement, whether in any newspaper or otherwise, including by way of electronic record, for the sale or supply at a bargain price of goods or services that are not intended to be offered for sale or supply at the bargain price, or for a period that is, and in quantities that are, reasonable, having regard to the nature of the market in which the business is carried on, the nature and size of business, and the nature of the advertisement.

Explanation. For the purpose of this sub-clause, "bargain price" means:
 

 

  1. a price that is stated in any advertisement to be a bargain price, by reference to an ordinary price or otherwise; or
  2. a price that a person who reads, hears or sees the advertisement, would reasonably understand to be a bargain price having regard to the prices at which the product advertised or like products are ordinarily sold;

 

  1. permitting:

 

  1. the offering of gifts, prizes or other items with the intention of not providing them as offered or creating impression that something is being given or offered free of charge when it is fully or partly covered by the amount charged, in the transaction as a whole;
  2. the conduct of any contest, lottery, game of chance or skill, for the purpose of promoting, directly or indirectly, the sale, use or supply of any product or any business interest, except such contest, lottery, game of chance or skill as may be prescribed;
  3. withholding from the participants of any scheme offering gifts, prizes or other items free of charge on its closure, the information about final results of the scheme.

 

Explanation. For the purpose of this sub-clause, the participants of a scheme shall be deemed to have been informed of the final results of the scheme where such results are within a reasonable time published, prominently in the same newspaper in which the scheme was originally advertised.

 

CCPA GUIDELINES FOR PREVENTION OF MISLEADING ADVERTISEMENTS AND ENDORSEMENTS FOR MISLEADING ADVERTISEMENTS, 2022
Extracts only; full guidelines here

 

4. Conditions for non-misleading and valid advertisement:

 

  1. An advertisement shall be considered to be valid and not misleading, if: 

 

  1. it contains truthful and honest representation;
  2. it does not mislead consumers by exaggerating the accuracy, scientific validity or practical usefulness or capability or performance or service of the goods or product;
  3. it does not present rights conferred on consumers by any law as a distinctive feature of advertiser’s offer;
  4. it does not suggest that the claims made in such advertisement are universally accepted if there is a significant division of informed or scientific opinion pertaining to such claims;
  5. it does not mislead about the nature or extent of the risk to consumers’ personal security, or that of their family if they fail to purchase the advertised goods, product or service;
  6. it ensures that the claims that have not been independently substantiated but are based merely on the content of a publication do not mislead consumers;
  7. it complies with the provisions contained in any other sector specific law and the rules and regulations made thereunder.

 

  1. Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-paragraph (1), if any occasional and unintentional lapse in the fulfilment of an advertised promise or claim occurs while carrying out mass manufacture and distribution of goods, products and services, such unintentional lapse may not invalidate the advertisement, provided:

 

  1. Such promise or claim is capable of fulfilment by a typical specimen of the product advertised;
  2. the proportion of product failures is within the generally acceptable limits;
  3. the advertiser has taken prompt action to make good the deficiency to the consumer. 

 

Free claims 

 

7. Free claims advertisements. A free claims advertisement shall:
 

  1. not describe any goods, product or service to be ‘free’, ‘without charge’ or use such other terms if the consumer has to pay anything other than the unavoidable cost of responding to such advertisement and collecting or paying for the delivery of such item;
  2. make clear the extent of commitment that a consumer shall make to take advantage of a free offer;
  3. not describe any goods, product or service to be free, if–

 

  1. the consumer has to pay for packing, packaging, handling or administration of such free goods, product or service;
  2. the cost of response, including the price of goods, product or service which the consumer has to purchase to take advantage of such offer, has been increased, except where such increase results from factors unrelated to the cost of promotion; or
  3. the quality or quantity of the goods, product or service that a consumer shall purchase to take advantage of the offer has been reduced;

 

  1. not describe an element of a package as free if such element is included in the package price;
  2. not use the term ‘free trial’ to describe a ‘satisfaction or your money back’ offer or an offer for which anon-refundable purchase is required.

 

Children

 

8. Children targeted advertisements.

 

  1. An advertisement that addresses or targets or uses children shall not:

 

  1. condone, encourage, inspire or unreasonably emulate behaviour that could be dangerous for children;
  2. take advantage of children's inexperience, credulity or sense of loyalty;
  3. exaggerate the features of goods, product or service in such manner as to lead children to have unrealistic expectations of such goods, product or service;
  4. condone or encourage practices that are detrimental to children's physical health or mental wellbeing;
  5. imply that children are likely to be ridiculed or made to feel inferior to others or become less popular or disloyal if they do not purchase or make use of such goods, product or service
  6. include a direct exhortation to children to purchase any goods, product or service or to persuade their parents, guardians or other persons to purchase such goods, product or service for them;
  7. use qualifiers such as ‘just’ or ‘only’ to make the price of goods, product or service seem less expensive where such advertisement includes additional cost or charge;
  8. feature children for advertisements prohibited by any law for the time being in force, including tobacco or alcohol-based products;
  9. feature personalities from the field of sports, music or cinema for products which under any law requires a health warning for such advertisement or cannot be purchased by children
  10. make it difficult for children to judge the size, characteristics and performance of advertised products and to distinguish between real life situations and fantasy;
  11. exaggerate what is attainable by an ordinary child using the product being marketed;
  12. exploit children’s susceptibility to charitable appeals and shall explain the extent to which their participation will help in any charity-linked promotions;
  13. resort to promotions that require a purchase to participate and include a direct exhortation to make a purchase addressed to or targeted at children;
  14. claim that consumption of a product advertised shall have an effect on enhancing intelligence or physical ability or bring exceptional recognition without any valid substantiation or adequate scientific evidence;
  15. claim any health or nutritional claims or benefits without being adequately and scientifically substantiated by a recognized body;
  16. be published in any mass media, including advertisement on network games in respect of medical services, drugs, dietary supplements, medical instruments, cosmetic products, liquor or cosmetic surgery which are adverse to the physical and mental health of children.

 

  1. An advertisement of any goods, product or service which addresses or targets children shall not:
     

 

  1. be such as to develop negative body image in children;
  2. give any impression that such goods, product or service is better than the natural or traditional food which children may be consuming.

 

  1. An advertisement for junk foods, including chips, carbonated beverages and such other snacks and drinks shall not be advertised during a program meant for children or on a channel meant exclusively for children.
  2. Any advertisement which offers promotional gifts to persuade children to buy goods, product or service without necessity or promotes illogical consumerism shall be discouraged.

 

 

 

  • The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, known as the CTN act provides under article 6 'No person shall transmit or re-transmit through a cable service any advertisement unless such advertisement is in conformity with the prescribed Advertisement Code,' extracted in full in othe following Channel Section C under the TV and radio header, or see the linked code 

 

 

 

..................................................................................

C. Channel Rules

1. TV/Radio/VOD

SECTION C: TV & RADIO/ AV

 

 

In brief: media law and regulation in India from INDUSLAW/ Lex June 2022

Television in India from Wikipedia 

 

STANDARD RULES 

 

  • The content rules set out in our earlier Section B should be observed in all channels. As well as the (non-exhaustive) extracts below that relate more specifically to TV, all commercial communications are subject to the full codes or rules or laws except where rules are print or online specific, and may well be reviewed under more 'general' terms such as those for misleadingness, decency etc. 
  • The principal sources of rules (excepting those from the CTN act set out below) are the ASCI code of self-regulation and the CCPA advertising guidelines, or to give them their full title 'Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022.'
  • The CCPA advertising guidelines linked above require under article 8 (3) children targeted advertisements: An advertisement for junk foods, including chips, carbonated beverages and such other snacks and drinks shall not be advertised during a program meant for children or on a channel meant exclusively for children.

 

RELEVANT LEGISLATION AND CODE

 

 

Rule 7. Advertisement Code

 

  1. Advertising carried in the cable service shall be so designed as to conform to the laws of the country and should not offend morality, decency and religious susceptibilities of the subscribers.
  2. No advertisement shall be permitted which:

 

  1. derides any race, caste, colour, creed and nationality;
  2. is against any provision of the Constitution of India;
  3. tends to incite people to crime, cause disorder or violence or breach of law or glorifies violence or obscenity in any way;
  4. presents criminality as desirable;
  5. exploits the national emblem, or any part of the Constitution or the person or personality of a national leader or a State dignitary;
  6. in its depiction of women violates the constitutional guarantees to all citizens. In particular, no advertisement shall be permitted which projects a derogatory image of women. Women must not be portrayed in a manner that emphasises passive, submissive qualities and encourages them to play a subordinate, secondary role in the family and society. The cable operator shall ensure that the portrayal of the female form, in the programmes carried in his cable service, is tasteful and aesthetic, and is within the well established norms of good taste and decency;
  7. exploits social evils like dowry, child marriage;
  8. promotes directly or indirectly production, sale or consumption of:

 

  1. Cigarettes, tobacco products, wine, alcohol, liquor or other intoxicants; provided that a product that uses a brand name or logo, which is also used for cigarettes, tobacco products, wine, alcohol, liquor or other intoxicants, may be advertised on cable service subject to the following conditions that:

 

  1. the story board or visual of the advertisement must depict only the product being advertised and not the prohibited products in any form or manner;
  2. the advertisement must not make any direct or indirect reference to the prohibited products;
  3. the advertisement must not contain any nuances or phrases promoting prohibited products;
  4. the advertisement must not use particular colours and layout or presentations associated with prohibited products;
  5. the advertisement must not use situations typical for promotion of prohibited products when advertising the other products;

 

Provided further that:
 

  1. the advertiser shall submit an application with a copy of the proposed advertisement along with a certificate by a registered Chartered Accountant that the product carrying the same name as cigarettes, tobacco products, wine, alcohol, liquor or other intoxicants is distributed in reasonable quantity and is available in substantial number of outlets where other products of the same category are available and the proposed expenditure on such advertising thereon shall not be disproportionate to the actual sales turnover of the product;
  2. All such advertisements found to be genuine brand extensions by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting shall be previewed and certified by the Central Board of Film Certification as suitable for unrestricted public exhibition and are in accordance with the provisions contained in sub-clause (i) to (v) of the first proviso, prior to their telecast or transmission or retransmission.

 

  1. infant milk substitutes, feeding bottle or infant food.

 

 

  1. No advertisement shall be permitted, the objects whereof, are wholly or mainly of a religious or political nature; advertisements must not be directed towards any religious or political end. (3A) No advertisement shall contain references which hurt religious sentiments;
  2. The goods or services advertised shall not suffer from any defect or deficiency as mentioned in Consumer Protection Act, 1986;
  3. No advertisement shall contain references which are likely to lead the public to infer that the product advertised or any of its ingredients has some special or miraculous or supernatural property or quality, which is difficult of being proved;
  4. The picture and the audible matter of the advertisement shall not be excessively loud;
  5. No advertisement which endangers the safety of children or creates in them any interest in unhealthy practices or shows them begging or in an undignified or indecent manner shall not be carried in the cable service;
  6. Indecent, vulgar, suggestive, repulsive or offensive themes or treatment shall be avoided in all advertisements;
  7. No advertisement which violates the Code for self-regulation in advertising, as adopted by the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI), Mumbai, for public exhibition in India, from time to time, shall be carried in the cable service;
  8. All advertisement should be clearly distinguishable from the programme and should not in any manner interfere with the programme viz., use of lower part of screen to carry captions, static or moving alongside the programme;
  9. No programme shall carry advertisements exceeding twelve minutes per hours, which may include up to ten minutes per hour of commercial advertisements, and up to two minutes per hour of the channel’s self-promotional programmes. 

 

 

 

................................................................

2. Cinema/Press/Outdoor

3. Online Commercial Communications

SECTION C: ONLINE COMMERCIAL COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

Q&A: Online advertising in India. AZB & Partners September 29, 2023

In brief: media law and regulation in India from INDUSLAW/ Lex June 2022

India - Data Protection OverviewOne Trust data guidance November 2022

 

CONTEXT AND STANDARD RULES 

 

  • The content rules set out in our earlier Section B should be observed for all advertising activity online. As well as the (non-exhaustive) extracts below that relate more specifically to some online techniques, all 'advertisements' are subject to the full codes or rules or laws. The ASCI code linked below defines an advertisement as follows: 'a paid-for communication, addressed to the  public or a section of it, the purpose of which is to promote, directly or  indirectly, the sale or use of goods and services to whom it is addressed. Any communication which in the normal course may or may not be recognized as advertisement by the general public, but is paid for or owned  or authorized by the Advertiser or their Advertising Agency would be  included in the definition.' 
  • The CCPA guidelines, also linked below, define various forms of advertising (see article 2) but leaves the definition of advertising itself to the Consumer Protection Act, from which the CCPA springs: 'an advertisement means any audio or visual publicity, representation, endorsement or pronouncement made by means of light, sound, smoke, gas, print, electronic media, internet or website and includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper, invoice or such other documents.' Chapter I Section 2. Advertising is very broadly defined, therefore.
  • The principal sources of rules are the ASCI Code of Self-Regulation and the CCPA Advertising Guidelines, or to give them their full title Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022. Both sets of rules apply to online advertising, which is also subject to the Consumer Protection Act 2019. This October 2022 piece from AZB Partners/ Lex Q&A: online advertising in India is a helpful overview of what to look out for in this environment.

 

 

GUIDELINES FOR INFLUENCER ADVERTISING IN DIGITAL MEDIA
From the ASCI Code of self-regulation April 21st, 2022
https://ascionline.in/images/pdf/asci_code_of_self_regulation.pdf

Also downloadable here: https://asci.social/guidelines

 

 

Definitions

 

  • Influencer: An Influencer is someone who has access to an audience and the power to affect their audiences’ purchasing decisions or opinions about a product, service, brand or experience, because of the influencer’s authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with their audience.
  • Virtual Influencer: Virtual influencers, are fictional computer generated ‘people’ or avatars who have the realistic characteristics, features and personalities of humans, and behave in a similar manner as influencers.
  • Material connection: A material connection is any connection between an advertiser and influencer that may affect the weight or credibility of the representation made by the influencer. Material connection could include, but is not limited to benefits and incentives, such as monetary or other compensation, free products with or without any conditions attached including those received unsolicited, discounts, gifts, contest and sweepstakes entries, trips or hotel stays, media barters, coverage, awards, or any family or employment relationship, etc.
  • Digital media: Digital Media is defined as a means of communication that can be transmitted over the internet or digital networks, and includes communication received, stored, transmitted, edited or processed by a digital media platform. Digital media includes but is not limited to:

  1. Internet (advergames, sponsored posts, branded content, promotional blogs, paid-for links, gamification, in-game advertising, teasers, viral advertising, augmented reality, native advertising, connected devices, influencers, etc.)
  2. On-demand across platforms, including near video on demand, subscription video on demand, near movie on demand, free video on demand, transactional video on demand, advertising video on demand, video on demand, pay per view, etc.
  3. Mobile broadcast, mobile, communications content, websites, blogs, apps, etc./digital TV (including digital video broadcasting, handheld and terrestrial), etc.
  4. NSTV (non-standard television)
  5. DDHE (digital delivery home entertainment)
  6. DTT (digital terrestrial television)

 

Preamble

 

As digital media becomes increasingly pervasive and more consumers start to consume advertising on various digital platforms, it has become important to understand the peculiarities of these advertisements and the way consumers view them. With lines between content and advertisements becoming blurry, it is critical that consumers must be able to distinguish when something is being promoted with an intention to influence their opinion or behaviour for an immediate or eventual commercial gain. Consumers may view such messages without realising the commercial intent of these, and that becomes inherently misleading, and in violation of clause 1.4 (misleading by omission) and 1.5 (abuse trust of consumers or exploit their lack of experience or knowledge).

 

 

Guidelines

 

  1. Disclosure All advertisements published by social media influencers or their representatives, on such influencers’ accounts must carry a disclosure label that clearly identifies it as an advertisement.

 

  • 1.1 The following criteria must be used to determine if disclosure is required:

 

 

  1. Disclosure is required if there is any material connection between the advertiser and the influencer.
  2. Material connection is not limited to monetary compensation. Disclosure is required if there is anything of value given to mention or talk about the advertiser’s product or service. For example: If the advertiser or its agents gives free or discounted products or service, or other perks, and then the influencer mentions one of its products or services, a disclosure is needed even if they were not specifically asked to talk about that product or service.
  3. Disclosures are required even if the evaluations are unbiased or fully originated by the influencer, so long as there is a material connection between the advertiser and influencer.
  4. If there is no material connection and the influencer is telling people about a product or service they bought and happen to like, that is not considered to be an advertisement and no disclosure is required on such posts.

 

  • 1.2 Disclosure must be upfront and prominent so that it is not missed by an average consumer

 

 

  1. It should be placed in a manner that is hard to miss.
  2. Disclosures are likely to be missed if they appear only on an ABOUT ME or profile page, or bios, at the end of posts or videos, or anywhere that requires a person to click MORE.
  3. Disclosure should not be buried in a group of hashtags or links.
  4. Using a platform’s disclosure tool should be considered in addition to an influencer’s own disclosure.
  5. If the advertisement is only a picture or video post without accompanying text (such as Instagram stories or Snapchat), the discloser label needs to be superimposed over the picture/ video, and it should be ensured that the average consumer is able to see it clearly.

 

  1. For videos that last 15 seconds or lesser, the disclosure label must stay for a minimum of 3 seconds.
  2. For videos longer than 15 seconds, but less than 2 minutes, the disclosure label should stay for 1/3rd the length of the video.
  3. For videos which are 2 minutes or longer, the disclosure label must stay for the entire duration of the section in which the promoted brand or its features, benefits etc., are mentioned.

 

  1. In live streams, the disclosure label should be announced at the beginning and the end of the broadcast. If the post continues to be visible after the live stream is over, appropriate disclosure must be added to the text/caption.
  2. In the case of audio media, the disclosure must be clearly announced at the beginning and at the end of the audio, and before and after every break that is taken in between.

 

  • 1.3 The disclosure must be made in a manner that is well understood by an average consumer.

 

  1. Following is the list of disclosure labels permitted. Any one or more can be used:

 

  • Advertisement
  • Ad
  • Sponsored
  • Collaboration
  • Partnership
  • Employee
  • Free gift 
  • “Paid Partnership” tag on Instagram
  • Affiliate
  • “Includes Paid Promotion” tag on YouTube

 

  1. The disclosure should be in English OR in the language as the advertisement itself, in a way that is easy for an average consumer to understand.

 

  • 1.4 A virtual influencer must additionally disclose to consumers that they are not interacting with a real human being. This disclosure must be upfront and prominent.
  • 1.5 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.

 

  1. Due Diligence. The influencers are advised to review and satisfy themselves that the advertiser is in a position to substantiate the claims made in the advertisement.

 

Addendum (Dated 15.07.2021)

 

If an influencer/advertiser disputes that the piece of communication in question is not an advertisement as there is no material connection, the following evidence will be required to be submitted to ASCI:

 

  1. A declaration from the advertiser stating that there is no material connection between them and the influencer as on the date of the post. This declaration needs to be signed by a senior member of the advertiser’s organisation such as the Marketing Head, Legal/ Compliance Head, and Digital Marketing Head or similar.
  2. In the event that the advertiser of the brand featured is difficult to trace in spite of reasonable efforts, or if the piece of communication features brands of multiple advertisers, then proof of purchase of featured products and brands, provided by the influencer, would be considered adequate evidence to refute material connection. 

 

 CONSUMER PROTECTION (E-COMMERCE) RULES 2020 
From the Department of Consumer Affairs
https://consumeraffairs.nic.in/sites/default/files/E%20commerce%20rules.pdf

 

2. Scope and applicability

 

  1. Save as otherwise expressly provided by the Central Government by notification, these rules shall apply to:

 

  1. all goods and services bought or sold over digital or electronic network including digital products;
  2. all models of e-commerce, including marketplace and inventory models of e-commerce;
  3. all e-commerce retail, including multi-channel single brand retailers and single brand retailers in single or multiple formats; and
  4. all forms of unfair trade practices across all models of e-commerce:

 Provided that these rules shall not apply to any activity of a natural person carried out in a personal capacity not being part of any professional or commercial activity undertaken on a regular or systematic basis.

 

  1. Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-rule (1), these rules shall apply to a e-commerce entity which is not established in India, but systematically offers goods or services to consumers in India.

 

.....................................................

 

  • Rules, as you might expect, largely relate to the information that should be provided to consumers by platforms and the processes to be applied in the course of transactions. An advertising-specific clause relates to sellers on e-commerce platforms under article 6: (4)(c) ensure that the advertisements for marketing of goods or services are consistent with the actual characteristics, access and usage conditions of such goods or services;
  • Some other commercial communications on the e-commerce platform may fall under the definition of advertising in ASCI codes and the CCPA guidelines and will therefore be required to observe the respective rules.

 

 

 

......................................................................

4. Cookies & OBA

SECTION C: COOKIES AND OBA

 

 

 

STANDARD RULES 

 

Future of targeted and behavioral advertising in India - Analysing CJEU’s Judgment on Meta Platforms

Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan January 15, 2024

 

  • In the cookies context, the key legislation and accompanying rules are the Information Technology Act 2000, as amended in 2008, together with the 2011 Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, linked here. It should also be noted that the government has put out to consultation the Draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill (open until 17th December, 2022). India - Data Protection Overview from One Trust data guidance November 2022 is a clear and complete summary of the data protection framework in India 
  • Bird&Bird's Global Cookie Review of Winter 2022 includes rules from India. 'There are no specific Indian laws regulating cookies. Under the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011 (“SPDI Rules”), which set out general data protection obligations, consent of the information provider is the only ground for the collection of sensitive personal data or information or “SPDI” – a subcategory of personal data that includes passwords, financial information, physical, physiological and mental health conditions, sexual orientation, medical records and history, and biometric information. While the use of cookies does not require consent, to the extent cookies are used to collect SPDI, consent must be obtained prior to the deployment of such cookies. Separately, market practice has also evolved in a manner where organisations generally seek consent for the use of cookies, regardless of whether any SPDI is collected through such use.' There's more in the linked review
  • OBA is the same as any other advertising in as much as it is subject to the advertising rules - those mainly being the ASCI Code of Self-Regulation and the CCPA Advertising Guidelines, or to give them their full title Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022. Both sets of rules apply to online advertising, which is also subject to the Consumer Protection Act 2019. This October 2022 piece from AZB Partners/ Lex Q&A: online advertising in India is a helpful overview of what to look out for in this environment. As far as we can establish, there is no EDAA equivalent operating in India 

 

 

 

..................................................................

 

 

 

 

5. Emails & SMS

SECTION C: DIRECT ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

 

STANDARD RULES 

 

  • In the context of data protection rules, which will apply to the processing of list data, the key legislation and accompanying rules are the Information Technology Act 2000, as amended in 2008, together with the 2011 Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, linked here. It should also be noted that the government has put out to consultation the Draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill (open until 17th December, 2022). India - Data Protection Overview from One Trust data guidance November 2022 is a clear and complete summary of the data protection framework in India. 
  • In terms of the content of email advertising, requirements are the same as for any other advertising in as much as it is subject to the advertising rules - those mainly being the ASCI Code of Self-Regulation and the CCPA Advertising Guidelines, or to give the latter their full title, Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022. Both sets of rules apply to online advertising, which is also subject to the Consumer Protection Act 2019. This October 2022 piece from AZB Partners/ Lex Q&A: online advertising in India is a helpful overview of what to look out for in this environment.

 

 

 

..................................................................

 

 

 

 

6. Own Websites & SNS

SECTION C: MARKETERS' OWN WEBSITES

 

 

STANDARD RULES 

 

  • The key issue in this owned environment is which communications are in the remit of the various applicable rules. As far as we can establish, there is no specific definition of what's in remit in the owned environment, though advertising as defined in the ASCI Code linked below contains references to that environment: 'An Advertisement is defined as a paid-for communication, addressed to the  public or a section of it, the purpose of which is to promote, directly or  indirectly, the sale or use of goods and services to whom it is addressed. Any communication which in the normal course may or may not be recognized as advertisement by the general public, but is paid for or owned  or authorized by the Advertiser or their Advertising Agency would be included in the definition.'
  • The CCPA guidelines take their definition of advertising from the Consumer Protection Act 2019 linked below: 'an advertisement means any audio or visual publicity, representation, endorsement or pronouncement made by means of light, sound, smoke, gas, print, electronic media, internet or website and includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper, invoice or such other documents.' This is obviously very broad; we can't be definitive about regulatory working practices in relation to this issue of owned space - advice should be sought if uncertain.
  • In terms of 'advertising' content, owned space requirements are the same as for any other advertising in as much as it is subject to the ASCI Code of Self-Regulation and the CCPA Advertising Guidelines, or to give the latter their full title, Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022. Both sets of rules apply to online advertising, which is also subject to the Consumer Protection Act 2019. This October 2022 piece from AZB Partners/ Lex Q&A: online advertising in India is a helpful overview of what to look out for in this environment.
  • In the context of data protection rules, the key legislation and accompanying rules are the Information Technology Act 2000, as amended in 2008, together with the 2011 Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, linked here. It should also be noted that the government has put out to consultation the Draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill (open until 17th December, 2022). India - Data Protection Overview from One Trust data guidance November 2022 is a clear and complete summary of the data protection framework in India. 

 

 

.......................................................

7. Native Advertising

8. Telemarketing

 

 

FOLLOWING USER FEEDBACK WE NO LONGER COVER TELEMARKETING 

9. Direct Postal Mail

SECTION C: DIRECT POSTAL MAIL

 

 

  • The content rules set out in our earlier Section B should be observed for all advertising activity. The principal sources of rules are the ASCI Code of Self-Regulation and the CCPA Advertising Guidelines, or to give them their full title Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022. Both sets of rules apply to direct mail, which is also subject to the Consumer Protection Act 2019
  • Data processing related to this activity is regulated principally by the Information Technology Act 2000, as amended in 2008, together with the 2011 Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, linked here. It should also be noted that the government has put out to consultation the Draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill (open until 17th December, 2022).
  • The Code of Ethics of the Indian Direct Selling Association is here; the Global DMA Privacy Principles are here and the GDMA/ India website is here; the ICC Code's Direct Marketing rules are under Chapter C of the linked code 

 

 

...........................................................

10. Event Sponsorship/ Field Marketing

SECTION C: EVENTS/ SPONSORSHIP

 

 

  • Content of collateral and other material that supports sponsorship, while not specifically identified as in remit, is likely to be covered by the two principal sources of rules - the self-regulatory ASCI Code and the CCPA Advertising Guidelines - as both define advertising broadly
  • Child-sensitive sectors such as gambling should obviously be careful to avoid events with a significant proportion of children; guidance is conventionally 25%+. Chapter B of the ICC Code is a solid source of sponsorship rules; key clauses set out below

 

 B1  PRINCIPLES GOVERNING SPONSORSHIP

 
  • All sponsorship should be based on contractual obligations between the sponsor and the sponsored party. Sponsors and sponsored parties should set out clear terms and conditions with all other partners involved, to define their expectations regarding all aspects of the sponsorship deal
  • Sponsorship should be recognisable as such
  • The terms and conduct of sponsorship should be based upon the principle of good faith between all parties to the sponsorship
  • There should be clarity regarding the specific rights being sold and confirmation that these are available for sponsorship from the rights holder. Sponsored parties should have the absolute right to decide on the value of the sponsorship rights that they are offering and the appropriateness of the sponsor with whom they contract
 
 

 B2  AUTONOMY AND SELF-DETERMINATION

 
  • Sponsorship should respect the autonomy and self-determination of the sponsored party in the management of its own activities and properties, provided the sponsored party fulfils the obligations set out in the sponsorship agreement
 
 

 B3   IMITATION AND CONFUSION

 
  • Sponsors and sponsored parties, as well as other parties involved in a sponsorship, should avoid imitation of the representation of other sponsorships where such imitation might mislead or generate confusion, even if applied to non-competitive products, companies or events
 
 

 B4   'AMBUSHING' OF SPONSORED PROPERTIES

 
  • No party should seek to give the impression that it is a sponsor of any event or of media coverage of an event, whether sponsored or not, if it is not in fact an official sponsor of the property or of media coverage. The sponsor and sponsored party should each take care to ensure that any actions taken by them to combat ‘ambush marketing’ are proportionate and that they do not damage the reputation of the sponsored property nor impact unduly on members of the general public
 
 

 B5  RESPECT FOR THE SPONSORSHIP PROPERTY AND THE SPONSOR

 
  • Sponsors should take particular care to safeguard the inherent artistic, cultural, sporting or other content of the sponsorship property and should avoid any abuse of their position which might damage the identity, dignity, or reputations of the sponsored party or the sponsorship property
  • The sponsored party should not obscure, deform or bring into disrepute the image or trademarks of the sponsor, or jeopardise the goodwill or public esteem associated with them
 
 

 B6   THE SPONSORSHIP AUDIENCE

 
  • The audience should be clearly informed of the existence of a sponsorship with respect to a particular event, activity, programme or person and the sponsor’s own message should not be likely to cause offence. Due note should be taken of existing professional ethics of the sponsored party
  • This article is not, however, intended to discourage sponsorship of avant-garde or potentially controversial artistic/cultural activities, or to encourage sponsors to exercise censorship over a sponsored party’s message
 

 B7  DATA CAPTURE/ DATA SHARING

 
  • If personal data is used in connection with sponsorship, the provisions of article 19 are applicable
 

 

 B8  ARTISTIC AND HISTORICAL OBJECTS

 
  • Sponsorship should not be conducted in such a way as to endanger artistic or historical objects
  • Sponsorship which aims to safeguard, restore, or maintain cultural, artistic or historical properties or their diffusion, should respect the public interest related to them
 
 

 B9  SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL SPONSORSHIP

 
  • Both sponsors and sponsored parties should take into consideration the potential social or environmental impact of the sponsorship when planning, organising and carrying out the sponsorship
  • Any sponsorship message fully or partially based on a claim of positive (or reduced negative) social and/or environmental impact should be substantiated in terms of actual benefits to be obtained. Parties to the sponsorship should respect the principles set out in the ICC Business Charter for Sustainable Development (available from www.iccwbo.org)
  • Any environmental claim made with respect to the sponsorship should conform to the principles set out in chapter D, Environmental Claims in Marketing Communications
 
 

 B10  CHARITIES AND HUMANITARIAN SPONSORSHIP

 
  • Sponsorship of charities and other humanitarian causes should be undertaken with sensitivity and care, to ensure that the work of the sponsored party is not adversely affected
 
 

 B11  MULTIPLE SPONSORSHIP

 
  • Where an activity or event requires or allows several sponsors, the individual contracts and agreements should clearly set out the respective rights, limits and obligations of each sponsor, including, but not limited to, details of any exclusivity. In particular, each member of a group of sponsors should respect the defined sponsorship fields and the allotted communication tasks, avoiding any interference that might unfairly alter the balance between the contributions of the various sponsors
  • The sponsored party should inform any potential sponsor of all the sponsors already a party to the sponsorship
  • The sponsored party should not accept a new sponsor without first ensuring that it does not conflict with any rights of sponsors who are already contracted and, where appropriate, informing the existing sponsors
 
 

 B12  MEDIA SPONSORSHIP

 
  • The content and scheduling of sponsored media properties should not be unduly influenced by the sponsor so as to compromise the responsibility, autonomy or editorial independence of the broadcaster, programme producer or media owner, except to the extent that the sponsor is permitted by relevant legislation to be the programme producer or co-producer, media owner or financier
  • Sponsored media properties should be identified as such by presentation of the sponsor’s name and/ or logo at the beginning, during and/or at the end of the programme or publication content. This also applies to online material
  • Particular care should be taken to ensure that there is no confusion between sponsorship of an event or activity and the media sponsorship of that event, especially where different sponsors are involved
 
 

B13  RESPONSIBILITY

 
  • As sponsorship is conceptually based on a contract of mutual benefit, the onus for observing the Code falls jointly on the sponsor and the sponsored party, who share the ultimate responsibility for all aspects of the sponsorship, whatever its kind or content
  • Anyone taking part in the planning, creation or execution of any sponsorship has a degree of responsibility, as defined in article 23 of the General Provisions, for ensuring the observance of the Code towards those affected, or likely to be affected, by the sponsorship

 

 

 

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11. Sales Promotion

SECTION C: SALES PROMOTIONS

 

 

CONTEXT

 

We define sales promotion (SP) as the use of various marketing techniques for a pre-determined, limited time in order to increase consumer demand. As this website was created to provide international rules on marketing communications, we do not claim authority on specific national SP regulation, especially retail legislation. However, when we find relevant rules in the course of what is extensive research, we will include them in this section. We check, for example, the national self-regulatory codes and consumer protection legislation for anything that impacts SP. 

 

Promotional schemes requiring a purchase to take part, and offering prizes only on the basis of random chance are considered a lottery and are generally illegal. Promotional activity can be fraught with regulatory issues; plans should be checked with specialist advisors.

 

STANDARD RULES 

 

  • The content rules set out in our earlier Section B should be observed for all sales promotional activity. As well as the (non-exhaustive) extracts below that relate more specifically to sales promotions, all commercial communications are subject to the full codes or rules or laws and may well be reviewed under more 'general' terms such as those for misleadingness, decency etc. 
  • The principal sources of rules are the ASCI code of self-regulation and the CCPA advertising guidelines, or to give them their full title Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022. Advertising and sales promotions are also subject to the Consumer Protection Act 2019, which carries a number of relevant rules set out below.
  • The ICC Code, which has at least indirect relevance in the Indian market, carries sales promotional rules under Chapter A.

 

LEGISLATION

 

From the Consumer Protection Act 2019 (EN)


The definition of an unfair trade practice under Chapter I, section 2, article 47 includes:

 

  • (i) materially misleads the public concerning the price at which a product or like products or goods or services, have been or are, ordinarily sold or provided, and, for this purpose, a representation as to price shall be deemed to refer to the price at which the product or goods or services has or have been sold by sellers or provided by suppliers generally in the relevant market unless it is clearly specified to be the price at which the product has been sold or services have been provided by the person by whom or on whose behalf the representation is made;
  • (ii) permitting the publication of any advertisement, whether in any newspaper or otherwise, including by way of electronic record, for the sale or supply at a bargain price of goods or services that are not intended to be offered for sale or supply at the bargain price, or for a period that is, and in quantities that are, reasonable, having regard to the nature of the market in which the business is carried on, the nature and size of business, and the nature of the advertisement.

 

Explanation. For the purpose of this sub-clause, "bargain price" means:
 

  1. a price that is stated in any advertisement to be a bargain price, by reference to an ordinary price or otherwise; or
  2. a price that a person who reads, hears or sees the advertisement, would reasonably understand to be a bargain price having regard to the prices at which the product advertised or like products are ordinarily sold;

 

  • (iii) permitting: (a) the offering of gifts, prizes or other items with the intention of not providing them as offered or creating impression that something is being given or offered free of charge when it is fully or partly covered by the amount charged, in the transaction as a whole; (b) the conduct of any contest, lottery, game of chance or skill, for the purpose of promoting, directly or indirectly, the sale, use or supply of any product or any business interest, except such contest, lottery, game of chance or skill as may be prescribed; (c) withholding from the participants of any scheme offering gifts, prizes or other items free of charge on its closure, the information about final results of the scheme.

 

Explanation. For the purpose of this sub-clause, the participants of a scheme shall be deemed to have been informed of the final results of the scheme where such results are within a reasonable time published, prominently in the same newspaper in which the scheme was originally advertised;
 

THE CCPA ADVERTISING GUIDELINES

 

https://consumeraffairs.nic.in/sites/default/files/file-uploads/latestnews/CCPA%20Notification.pdf

 

  • 5. Conditions for bait advertisements. A bait advertisement shall fulfil the following conditions, namely:

 

a) such advertisement shall not seek to entice consumers to purchase goods, products or services without a reasonable prospect of selling such advertised goods, products or services at the price offered;

b) the advertiser shall ensure that there is adequate supply of goods, products or services to meet foreseeable demand generated by such advertisement;

c) such advertisement shall state the reasonable grounds which the advertiser has for believing that he might not be able to supply the advertised goods, products or services within a reasonable period and in reasonable quantities, and in particular:

 

i. if the estimated demand exceeds the supply, such advertisement shall make clear that the stock of the goods or services is limited;

ii. if the purpose of the advertisement is to assess potential demand, it shall be clearly stated such advertisement; and

iii. the advertisement shall not mislead consumers by omitting restrictions, including geographic restrictions and age-limit on the availability of the goods, products or services; (d) such advertisement does not mislead consumers about the market conditions with respect to the goods, products or services or the lack of their availability in order to induce consumers to purchase such goods, products or services at conditions less favourable than normal market conditions.

 

  • 7. Free claims advertisements. A free claims advertisement shall:

 

a) not describe any goods, product or service to be ‘free’, ‘without charge’ or use such other terms if the consumer has to pay anything other than the unavoidable cost of responding to such advertisement and collecting or paying for the delivery of such item;

b) make clear the extent of commitment that a consumer shall make to take advantage of a free offer;

c) not describe any goods, product or service to be free, if:

 

i.  the consumer has to pay for packing, packaging, handling or administration of such free goods, product or service;

ii. the cost of response, including the price of goods, product or service which the consumer has to purchase to take advantage of such offer, has been increased, except where such increase results from factors unrelated to the cost of promotion; or

iii. the quality or quantity of the goods, product or service that a consumer shall purchase to take advantage of the offer has been reduced;

 

d) ​not describe an element of a package as free if such element is included in the package price;

e) not use the term ‘free trial’ to describe a ‘satisfaction or your money back’ offer or an offer for which a non-refundable purchase is required.

 

  • ​From article 8, children targeted advertisements:

​(f) include a direct exhortation to children to purchase any goods, product or service or to persuade their parents, guardians or other persons to purchase such goods, product or service for them;
(g) use qualifiers such as ‘just’ or ‘only’ to make the price of goods, product or service seem less expensive where such advertisement includes additional cost or charge;

(m) resort to promotions that require a purchase to participate and include a direct exhortation to make a purchase addressed to or targeted at children;

(4) Any advertisement which offers promotional gifts to persuade children to buy goods, product or service without necessity or promotes illogical consumerism shall be discouraged.

 

  • From article 12, Duties of manufacturer, service provider, advertiser and advertising agency

(e) advertisement is so framed as not to abuse the trust of consumers or exploit their lack of experience or knowledge and for this purpose:
(i) such advertisement may not make claims which use expressions such as "upto five years guarantee" or “Prices from as low as Rs.“Y", instead shall clearly indicate a fixed period of guarantee of the product or a fixed price at which the product is being offered; and in case, the product has different periods of guarantee for different parts or components, it shall clearly indicate the minimum and maximum of such periods of guarantee applicable to the relevant part or components;
(ii) if such advertisements invite the public to take part in lotteries or prize competitions permitted under any law for the time being in force or hold out the prospect of gifts, it shall clearly set out all pertinent material terms and conditions so as to enable consumers to obtain a true and fair view of their prospects in such activities;

 

 

SELF-REGULATION

 

From Chapter I of the ASCI code of self-regulation, Truthful and Honest Representation, article 1.5:

 

  1. Products shall not be described as `free’ where there is any direct cost to  the consumer other than the actual cost of any delivery, freight, or postage. Where such costs are payable by the consumer, a clear statement that this is the case shall be made in the advertisement.
  2. Where a claim is made that if one product is purchased, another product  will be provided `free’, the advertiser is required to show, as and when called upon by The Advertising Standards Council of India, that the price paid by the consumer for the product which is offered for purchase with the advertised incentive is no more than the prevailing price of the product without the advertised incentive.
  3. Claims which use expressions such as “up to five years’ guarantee” or “Prices from as low as Rs. Y” are not acceptable if there is a likelihood of the consumer being misled either as to the extent of the availability or as to the applicability of the benefits offered. 

  1. Advertisements inviting the public to take part in lotteries or prize competitions permitted under law or which hold out the prospect of gifts shall state clearly all material conditions as to enable the consumer to obtain a true and fair view of their prospects in such activities. Further, such advertisers shall make adequate provisions for the judging of such competitions, announcement of the results and the fair distribution of prizes or gifts according to the advertised terms and conditions within a reasonable period of time. With regard to the announcement of results, it is clarified that the advertiser’s responsibility under this section of the Code is discharged adequately if the advertiser and results in the media used to announce the competition as far as is practicable and advises the individual winners by post.

 

 

 

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D. Advice & Clearance

E. Links

SECTION E SOURCES/ LINKS


 

 

LEGISLATION AND STATUTORY GUIDELINES 

 

 

Consumer protection legislation

 

The Consumer Protection Act 2019 Act no. 35 of 2019 on 9th August, 2019 in force from 20th July, 2020. 'An Act to provide for protection of the interests of consumers and for the said purpose, to establish authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumers' disputes and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.' The act is notable for our purposes for the establishment of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (see below) and its related advertising guidelines. Otherwise, the act deals with complaints, redressals, mediation, product liability etc. though in a relatively unusual structure it defines misleading advertising under article 28, Chapter I, section 2. Article 47 in the same definitions section covers unfair trade practices which also relates to advertising in the context of 'bargain price' communications. Under the Consumer Protection Act Chapter I Section 2, advertising is broadly defined: 'an advertisement means any audio or visual publicity, representation, endorsement or pronouncement made by means of light, sound, smoke, gas, print, electronic media, internet or website and includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper, invoice or such other documents.'

https://www.indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/15256/1/A2019-35.pdf

 

Statutory authority 

 

Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA). Under the auspices of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. Part of the role of the Consumer Protection Act 2019 was 'to establish authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumers' disputes and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.' One such, and the most significant from our perspective, is a Central Consumer Protection Authority, 'to be known as the Central Authority to regulate matters relating to violation of rights of consumers, unfair trade practices and false or misleading advertisements which are prejudicial to the interests of public and consumers and to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.' The role that advertising plays in the CCPA duties is relatively unusual for such authorities and their creation of advertising guidelines or 'Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022' (see below) to provide its full title, obviously makes a notable impact in the advertising regulatory framework.

https://consumeraffairs.nic.in/acts-and-rules/consumer-protection

 

CCPA Advertising guidelines 

 

Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022. 'In exercise of the powers conferred by section 18 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (35 of 2019), the Central Consumer Protection Authority hereby issues the following guidelines to provide for the prevention of false or misleading advertisements and making endorsements relating thereto.' The guidelines are pretty comprehensive and mostly 'general' rules rather than sector-specific and related to misleadingness, decency, portrayal of women , endorsements where a 'material connection' exists, surrogate advertising, free claims, disclaimers, children (defined as not yet completed their 18th year). Under article 8 'An advertisement for junk foods, including chips, carbonated beverages and such other snacks and drinks shall not be advertised during a program meant for children or on a channel meant exclusively for children.'

https://consumeraffairs.nic.in/sites/default/files/file-uploads/latestnews/CCPA%20Notification.pdf

 

Cable television

 

Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995. in force 29 September, 1994. 'An Act to regulate the operation of cable television networks in the country and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.' As might be expected, the act largely deals with matters such as registration of operators, programme content, powers of the authority, duties of operators etc. Chapter II, section 6 establishes the 'Advertisement Code' - see below - 'No person shall transmit or re-transmit through a cable service any advertisement unless such advertisement is in conformity with the prescribed advertisement code. The code also requires that advertisements conform to the ASCI code.

https://www.indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/1928/1/A1995-07.pdf

 

 

Cable TV Advertising Code


Prescribed under the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 and under the auspices of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB). Prohibits the advertising of cigarettes, tobacco products, wine, alcohol, liquor or other intoxicants; addresses issues of race, caste, colour, creed and nationality; incitement crime, or violence or breach of law or  exploits the national emblem, or any part of the Constitution or the person or personality of a national leader or a State dignitary;  depiction of women: no advertisement shall be permitted which projects a derogatory image of women. Women must not be portrayed in a manner that emphasises passive, submissive qualities and encourages them to play a subordinate, secondary role in the family and society. The code also requires that advertisements conform to the ASCI code.

https://mib.gov.in/sites/default/files/pac1.pdf

 

 

Data Protection 

 

Information Technology Act, 2000, as amended by the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008. 'An Act to provide legal recognition for transactions carried out by means of electronic data interchange and other means of electronic communication, commonly referred to as "electronic commerce", which involve the use of alternatives to paper-based methods of communication and storage of information, to facilitate electronic filing of documents with the Government agencies and further to amend the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Bankers' Books Evidence Act, 1891 and the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The 2008 act is here.

https://www.meity.gov.in/writereaddata/files/itbill2000.pdf

 

Associated rules 

 

Four sets of Rules have been introduced under the Information Technology Act, 2000, as amended by the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008. 1) The Security Practices Rules require entities holding sensitive personal information of users to maintain certain specified security standards. 2) The Intermediary Guidelines Rules prohibit content of specific nature on the internet. An intermediary, such as a website host, is required to block such content. 3) The Cyber Café Rules require cyber cafés to register with a registration agency and maintain a log of identity of users and their internet usage. 4) Under the Electronic Service Delivery Rules the government can specify certain services, such as applications, certificates, licenses etc, to be delivered electronically.(From PRS India). The most significant of these rules for commercial oeprational purposes (according to is the first, its full title the Information Technology (Reasonable security practices and procedures and sensitive personal data or information) Rules, 2011. 

https://upload.indiacode.nic.in/showfile?actid=AC_CEN_45_76_00001_200021_1517807324077&type=rule&filename=GSR313E_10511(1)_0.pdf

The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology

https://prsindia.org/billtrack/the-information-technology-intermediary-guidelines-and-digital-media-ethics-code-rules-2021

 

Consumer protection e-commerce rules

 

The Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020. From the Ministry of Consumer Affairs,Food and Public Distribution (Department of Consumer Affairs) July 23rd 2020. These provisions largely relate to the information that should be provided to consumers by platforms and the processes to be applied in the course of transactions. An advertising-specific clause relates to sellers on e-commerce platforms under article 6 (4)(c): 'ensure that the advertisements for marketing of goods or services are consistent with the actual characteristics, access and usage conditions of such goods or services.' Some other commercial communications on the e-commerce platform may fall under the definition of advertising in the ASCI code and the CCPA guidelines and may therefore be required to observe their respective advertising rules.
https://consumeraffairs.nic.in/sites/default/files/E%20commerce%20rules.pdf

 

 

SELF-REGULATION

 

The Code for Self-Regulation of advertising content in India. From ASCI, the Advertising Standards Council of India. The code includes 'general' rules, i.e. those on misleadingness, decency, offense, fair competition etc. as well as sections on Automotive vehicles (April 2008), Brand extensions (July 2021), Foods & Beverages (F&B; February 2013), Educational institutions and programs (April 2022), Disclaimers (October 2016) New/ improved (June 2014), Skin lightening (August 2014), Celebrities (April 2022), Awards/ rankings (April 2022), Online gambling (April 2022), Influencer advertising in digital media (April 2022), Online gambling (April 2022), Virtual digital assets (February 2022), Gender stereotypes guidelines (June 2022).

https://ascionline.in/images/pdf/code_book.pdf

 

Guidelines For Influencer Advertising In Digital Media. All advertisements published by social media influencers or their representatives, on such influencers’ accounts must carry a disclosure label that clearly identifies it as an advertisement. Disclosure is required if there is any material connection between the advertiser and the influencer. Material connection isn’t limited to monetary compensation​. The guidleines set out what forms and styles of disclosure are permissible.

https://asci.social/guidelines

 

International 

 

ICC

 

ICC Advertising and Marketing Communications Code 2018. In September 2018, the International Chamber of Commerce introduced the newly revised Advertising and Marketing Communications Code (the Code). Scope: From the website: 'This tenth edition of the Code covers all marketing communications, regardless of form, format or medium. Marketing communications are to be understood in a broad sense (see definitions) but obviously do not extend indiscriminately to every type of corporate communication.' Structure: 'The ICC Code is constructed as an integrated system of ethical rules. There are General Provisions and Definitions which apply without exception to all marketing communications; these should be read in conjunction with the more detailed provisions and specific requirements set out in the relevant chapters:

 

Chapter A. Sales Promotion
Chapter B. Sponsorship
Chapter C. Direct Marketing and Digital Marketing Communications
Chapter D. Environmental Claims in Marketing Communications.'

 

Platform:

https://iccwbo.org/publication/icc-advertising-and-marketing-communications-code/

Downloaded:

https://cms.iccwbo.org/content/uploads/sites/3/2018/09/icc-advertising-and-marketing-communications-code-int.pdf

Translation of the code into eleven languages is here

 

Additional guides and frameworks


ICC Guide for Responsible Mobile Marketing Communications

Mobile supplement to the ICC Resource Guide for Self-Regulation of Interest Based Advertising

ICC Framework for Responsible Marketing Communications of Alcohol

ICC Resource Guide for Self-Regulation of Online Behavioural Advertising

ICC Framework for Responsible Environmental Marketing Communications

ICC Framework for Responsible Food and Beverage Marketing Communication

 

ICC guidance documents

 

ICC Guidance on Native Advertising (May 2015). 

https://iccwbo.org/content/uploads/sites/3/2015/05/ICC-Guidance-on-Native-Advertising.pdf

 

ICC Framework for Responsible Marketing Communications of Alcohol. This Framework helps to interpret the fundamental global standards of the ICC Code to offer more specific guidance on issues unique to the alcohol sector emphasizing the key principles that marketing communications be honest, legal, decent and truthful and prepared with a due regard for social responsibility.  It will also serve as the basis for developing self-regulatory rules for marketing alcohol where these do not exist. Countries seeking to establish or enhance marketing self-regulation codes for alcohol can look to the ICC principles as the baseline global standards and use the interpretation of this Framework easily to adapt them into national codes according to varying cultures and contexts.

https://iccwbo.org/content/uploads/sites/3/2019/08/icc-framework-for-responsible-alcohol-marketing-communications-2019.pdf

 

ICC toolkits

 

ICC Toolkit: Marketing and Advertising to Children (2017)
https://iccwbo.org/publication/icc-toolkit-marketing-advertising-children/

Summary and Toolkit for Advertising Agency/ Marketer: 
http://www.codescentre.com/about-you/advertising-agency-views.aspx​

 

 

INDUSTRY ASSOCIATIONS 

 

ISA

 

The Indian Society of Advertisers 'has been the peak national body for advertisers for 70 years and represents the interests of organisations involved in Indian advertising, marketing and media industry. ISA's aim is to promote and safeguard the rights of its members to communicate freely with their customers, and to protect consumers by ensuring advertising and marketing communications are conducted responsibly.' (from their website)

https://www.isanet.org.in/index.php

 

 

 

 

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