Misleading Advertisements: Liability Of The Celebrities
By Advocate Piyush Singh / 2017-03-28
The trends for misleading advertisements from the consumers perspective have been alarming. Recently it has been found that leading brands such as Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Tata Chemicals and ITC figured on the ad watchdog ASCI's list of companies that have been flashing misleading advertisements to promote their products. Top FMCG brands - Coca-Cola, Emami and PepsiCo- have been pulled up for misleading advertisements as well. The Customer Complaints Council of Advertising Standards Council of India received 126 complaints in the month of June 2017, out of which 62 have been upheld. Consumer Protection Bill, 2015 seeks to impose direct criminal liability on endorsers, manufacturers etc.

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Celebrity endorsements not only have developed in recent years, they have been used in the past for promoting the product. This type of marketing strategy is used to promote the product and has proved in itself a boon in advertising world.it is mainly used to influence the consumer who comes across these advertisements as it is accessed in the consumer's mind for many days even after the advertisement. Celebrity endorsement has not always helped in promoting the product but has also misled the consumers in recent years. For which proper safeguard is necessary by the Legislature.

Illustrations of endorsements having caused substantial harm in the past-

  • In another case, a young girl, having a short height was appealed to by the words of an advertisement that had promised to make a short person taller and, promised her that she would gain 10 cm in height in a short span of six months through a surgical procedure. The so-called correctional surgery eventually left her confined to the bed.
  • India is the land of spiritualist of babas and sadhus. There has not been a law specifically to prosecute those making false spiritual claims and deceive people.

Brosnan came out in the open and gave an interview to People magazine, claiming that Pan Bahar had “violated his contract” by falsely presenting him as a brand ambassador for its entire product line. He told People magazine that he had committed to advertising for just one product under the Pan Bahar umbrella, which he claimed was an “all-natural, containing neither tobacco, supari, nor any other harmful ingredient.”

Celebrities to be held accountable!

The trends for misleading advertisements from the consumers perspective have been alarming. Recently it has been found that leading brands such as Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Tata Chemicals and ITC figured on the ad watchdog ASCI's list of companies that have been flashing misleading advertisements to promote their products. Top FMCG brands - Coca-Cola, Emami and PepsiCo- have been pulled up for misleading advertisements as well. The Customer Complaints Council of Advertising Standards Council of India received 126 complaints in the month of June 2017, out of which 62 have been upheld. Consumer Protection Bill, 2015 seeks to impose direct criminal liability on endorsers, manufacturers etc.

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