ASCI Bans 12 Liquor Companies Under Surrogate Advertising

The brands were actively selling goods like music CDs, packaged water, non-alcoholic beverages, appearing around IPL 2020

As per a recent media report, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has banned 12 liquor companies from surrogate advertising, shortly after it pulled out an investigation starting last year. While the independent body took up 14 complaints initially, two of the advertisers voluntarily decided to withdraw their ads. The other 12 cases were taken to ASCI's Consumer Complaints Council (CCC), without naming any brands.

Key to ASCI's investigation is determining what are surrogates for liquor, and what constitutes genuine brand extensions. Brands can not feature prohibited claims or banned products. "All these advertisements were found to be in violation of the ASCI code, as advertisers failed to convince the CCC that these were genuine brand extensions, or that they did not have direct or indirect cues of the category whose advertising is restricted or prohibited," comments Manisha Kapoor, Secretary-General, ASCI.

Owing to complaints received by ASCI around IPL 2020, prominent names (Royal Stag, Sterling Reserve, Blenders Pride) were alarmed under possible ‘surrogate advertising’. Their surrogate products, in the form of CDs, packaged water, non-alcoholic beverages and merchandising had been under the scanner for long. For now, these advertisers are refrained from airing or publishing ads unless modified.