Promotions on social media
Why in news? The Department of Consumer Affairs under Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution released a guide ‘Endorsements Know-hows!’ for celebrities, influencers and virtual influencers on social media platforms
- It aims to ensure that individuals do not mislead their audiences while endorsing products/services and are in compliance with the Consumer Protection Act.
Why “Endorsement Know-hows!” ?
- It emphasises the increased risk of consumers being misled by advertisements and unfair trade practices by some individuals on social media platforms.
What are main endorsement guidelines ?
- Any celebrity, influencer, or virtual influencer with an access to influence audience and their purchasing decisions must disclose any material connection to the advertiser.
- A product, service, brand, or experience may be the subject of the advertisement or promotion.
- Disclosures include monetary or other compensation, trips or hotel stays, media bartering, coverage and awards, free products with or without conditions, discounts, gifts, and any family, personal, or employment relationship.
- Endorsements must be made in simple, clear language, and terms like ‘advertisement,’ ‘sponsored,’ or ‘paid promotion’ are permitted.
- The celebrity or influencer should not endorse any product or service that has not been thoroughly researched by them or that they have not personally used or experienced.
- The new guidelines are in alignment with the Consumer Protection Act, of 2019, that was enacted to protect consumers from unfair trade practices and deceptive advertising.
- In case of violations, the penalty prescribed for misleading advertisements under the Consumer Protection Act 2019 will be applicable.
- Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) can impose a penalty of up to Rs 10 lakh on manufacturers, advertisers and endorsers and for repeated offences, a penalty of up to 50 lakh can be imposed.
- The CCPA can also prohibit the endorser of a misleading advertisement from making any endorsement for up to one year and for subsequent contravention, prohibition can extend up to three years.