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What type of Company is ASCI? Who are its members?

ASCI is a voluntary self-regulatory organization, registered as a not-for-profit Company under section 25

of the Indian Cos. Act. The sponsors of the ASCI, who are its principal members, are firms of
considerable repute within Industry in India, and comprise Advertisers, Media, Ad. Agencies and other
professional /ancillary services connected with advertising practice.


Is ASCI a Govt. Body?

The ASCI is not a Govt. body. It is a voluntary Self Regulatory Organization. However, ASCI is represented
in all committees working on advertising content in every Ministry of the Government of India.


Who complains against Ads to the ASCI? What are the no. of complaints received annually?

The ASCI receives and processes 120-140 complaints against advertisements, from a cross section of
consumers and the general public, and this covers individuals, practitioners in advertising, advertiser
firms, media, ad. agencies, and ancillary services connected with advertising.


Does ASCI follow the principles of Natural Justice when handling complaints?

Yes. ASCI gives the Advertiser every opportunity to explain its point of view. You will appreciate that if
an AD is to be reviewed for its likely impact on the sensibilities of individual viewers of TV, or readers of
press publications (as in the case of your complaint), we require to convey to the Advertiser concerned,
the substantial issues raised in the complaint, in the exact context of the specific advertisement, as
conveyed by the perception of the complainant. We usually give the Advertiser two weeks to respond
by way of comments. Only then will the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC), of the ASCI, be in a
position to deliberate meaningfully on the issues involved, and to arrive at a fair and objective
conclusion, which would stand the scrutiny of all concerned with the right to freedom of expression, and
the freedom of consumers to choose the products /services made available to them in the market-place.


How long does it take for a decision on a Complaint to be taken?

It takes 4 to 6 weeks from the date we receive a "complete" complaint. This should include full
particulars of the Print Ad, the name and date of Publication, and clipping or copy of the print Ad .In
case of a TVC airing, we require the Channel, date and time of the TVC. reasonable description of an
A/V, specific claims or visual depictions which are considered to be false, misleading or objectionable
and the reasons for the same.

How does ASCI protect the confidentiality of the Complainant?

As a policy the ASCI does not disclose the identity of the complainant to the Advertiser or anyone other
than the members of the CCC, at the time of their meeting, which is usually held once a month.


Can we quote decisions taken by the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC)?

Yes, pertinent details on complaints which have been decided on by our Consumer Complaints Council
(CCC), which are published in our Quarterly Compilation reports(normally sent to members of the
ASCI),which are made available to the Media on request( as in this instance), may be quoted verbatim,
with mention of the source ie. "ASCI report on complaints decided by their CCC."


Does ASCI publish details of decisions taken by the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC)?

Yes, a Summary of complaints which have been decided on by our Consumer Complaints Council (CCC),
are published in our Quarterly Compilation reports (normally sent to members of the ASCI). Click on
"Recent Decisions by CCC on Complaints under the Section Feedback".


Does ASCI proactively ensure that Ads conform to its Code?

Yes, by registering a suo moto complaint. When one makes a complaint by oneself, it is treated as a suo
motu complaint. Any Board member, CCC member or staff of the Secretariat can register a complaint
which is considered to be a suo motu complaint. It goes through the same process as other complaints,
ensuring that the Advertiser is given an opportunity to explain its view point.


Do Advertisers abide by the decisions of ASCI?

In the case of complaints which were Upheld by the CCC, during the past year, it may interest you to
know that 85 to 90 % of such Ads have been withdrawn or modified appropriately by the
Advertisers/Agencies involved. The concerned Media have also confirmed that they would not carry
such offending Ads/TVC.


Does a complainant have to pay to register a complaint?

No. Registering a complaint is free of cost.


Does ASCI have any guidelines or rules which agencies have to follow?

Yes, The ASCI has a Code for Self Regulation in Advertising which covers the following principles:

I. To ensure the truthfulness and honesty of representations and claims made by advertisements and to
safeguard against misleading advertisements.

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

III. To safeguard against the indiscriminate use of advertising for the promotion of products which are
regarded as hazardous to society or to individuals to a degree or of a type which is unacceptable to
society at large.

IV. To ensure that advertisements observe fairness in competition so that the consumer’s need to be
informed on choices in the market-place and the canons of generally accepted competitive behaviour in
business are both served.


Does ASCI have any guidelines or rules for a particular Category?

ASCI has Guidelines on Advertising of Food & Beverages directed at children under 13 years of age.
Children’s choice of diet (food and beverages) and level of physical activity, can impact their general
health and well being. It can have a positive influence by encouraging a healthy, well balanced diet,
sound eating habits and appropriate physical activity. Caution and care therefore should be observed in
advertising of Foods & Beverages especially ones containing relatively high Fat, Sugar and Salt.

ASCI has also Guidelines on Advertisements for Automotive vehicles.

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

Specifically, Advertisements should not portray violation of the Traffic Rules, show speed
maneuverability in a manner which encourages unsafe or reckless driving, which could harm the driver,
passengers and/or general public, 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

What is the power of ASCI?

ASCI's role has been acclaimed by various agencies including the Government. However, it lacked the
force of legal recognition. The Government of India has at last, taken note of this and by one stroke on
2nd August 2006 vide a notification in The Gazette of India: Extraordinary {Part II –sec. 3(i)}, made sure
that at least as far as TV Commercials go, they abide by the ASCI code. The amendment made in Cable
Television Networks Rules, 1994 through a Notification dated August 2nd, 2006 now states:

" (9) No advertisement which violates the Code for Self-Regulation in Advertising, as adopted by the
Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), Mumbai for public exhibition in India, from time to time,
shall be carried in the cable service".