D2C Brands & Influencer Non-disclosures Push Personal Care To Top 3 Violative Sectors: ASCI

Sharp and focused suo-moto surveillance by ASCI in the digital space using AI-based technology results in an expanded surveillance footprint

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), in its latest report titled “Objectionable ads in the Beauty & Personal Care category and the rising impact of influencer marketing & D2C brands”, has revealed how the personal care sector has emerged among the top three violators contributing to 12 per cent of all objectionable advertisements scrutinised by ASCI. 

While personal care has always been among the top ten violating categories, in the past two years, it has risen to the top three on account of high volumes of ads violating ASCI’s guidelines. The launch of influencer guidelines in May 2021 along with ASCI’s proactive monitoring using AI-based tools has added to the increased number of ads under scrutiny.

With respect to the personal care sector, in the period 2021-2022 to Q1-Q3 2022-2023, ASCI processed complaints against 1,126 advertisements in this sector versus just 347 ads in the previous two years. 

The sector report has also thrown light on some interesting facts:

● There was a 272 per cent rise in the monthly average of ads processed in the last four years, starting from 2019. 

● 5.7 per cent of ads in violation of the ASCI Code were from the personal hygiene category, 30.3 per cent from the skincare category, 24.7 per cent from the cosmetics category, 19.4 per cent from hair care. 17.5 per cent of ads showcased multiple categories. 

● Social media influencers were responsible for 68 per cent of the ads processed in the personal care category, out of which 92 per cent violated the ASCI Code and required modifications. Of these, 77 per cent were not contested and the voluntary compliance rate stood at 91 per cent. 

● 84 per cent of violative ads belonged to the D2C brands, which have a large presence on social and digital platforms. 

● 24 per cent of total complaints across categories received at ASCI from consumers, industry and consumer organisations between Q1-Q3 in '22-'22 were for personal care ads. 

● The platform split for violative ads in personal care was Instagram (55.3 per cent), YouTube (25.9 per cent), Facebook (11.3 per cent) and websites (4.8 per cent). 

Talking about the report, Manisha Kapoor, CEO & Secretary General, ASCI, says, “Personal care, particularly on digital platforms, is a high engagement space for consumers, and it is important that their interests be protected. Over the past few years, ASCI has constantly strived to update its guidelines to extend consumer protection to many emerging sectors and platforms. This, coupled with our AI-based digital monitoring is making a real impact in being able to identify violations and drive compliance. We are glad that we could get in early, formulate appropriate guidelines and work towards making the online space safe for consumers.”

The other top two violators mentioned in the report were Education (26 per cent) and Healthcare (15 per cent). 

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