ASCI processed 3,340 complaints against 2764 advertisements during April-September 2022
Over the past two years, the complaints against misleading edtech ads have increased
The complaints against influencers constituted 28% of the total grievances for the April-September period
During April-September 2022, complaints against advertisers rose 14% compared to the same period a year ago, said a recently released The Advertising Standards Council of India report.
ASCI processed 3,340 complaints against 2764 advertisements during the mentioned period that were in potential violation of the ASCI code. About 55% of these ads were spotted across the digital domain, followed by 39% in print and 5% on television.
Out of all the violative digital ads, 27.4 % came from Instagram, and 24.3 % from YouTube.
Maximum Complaints From Education Sector
Unsurprisingly, education as a sector remained the most violative sector accounting for 27% of total complaints.
As per the report, 22% complaints were related to the classical education category while 5% were from the edtech sector. Among other sectors, healthcare, gaming, ecommerce accounted for 13%, 4%, 3% respectively for the total complaints.
Over the past two years, the complaints against misleading edtech ads have increased causing concern for the industry. Even the central government had warned the edtech companies against unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements earlier this year.
If self-regulation does not curb unfair trade practices, then stringent guidelines would be formulated for ensuring transparency, Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh told the edtech players in July during a meeting with industry body India Edtech Consortium (IEC).
The education sector also emerged as the largest violator of the advertising code between April 2021 and March 2022, as per data shared by ASCI earlier. Nearly 33% of the total 7,631 complaints pertained to the education sector, which is 2,500+ complaints.
Influencer Marketing Remains Under ASCI Scanner
Meanwhile, influencer marketing has also seen a number of complaints for violating guidelines. The complaints against influencers constituted 28% of the total grievances for the April-September period.
Of the 781 complaints processed against influencers, 34% were from the personal care category, followed by food and beverage at 17%, and virtual digital assets at 10 %. Moreover, the gaming category also accounted for 5% of the influencer violation complaints.
In 2021, ASCI released the first set of guidelines for influencer marketing in India for “consumers to distinguish between something that is promoted with an intention to influence consumers’ opinion or behaviour for an immediate or commercial gain.”
Earlier this year, ASCI agreed to accept paid partnership tags on Instagram as an adequate disclosure for influencer advertising.
While starting with the Meesho controversy influencer marketing has come in bad light often this year, the centre is also reportedly mulling releasing social media influencers guidelines to bring paid promotions and disclosures under its ambit.