ASCI updates disclaimer guidelines tightening the rules

“Where disclaimers are needed, they should be presented in a manner that someone who is interested in reading them has the opportunity to do so,” said Manisha Kapoor, CEO and Secretary-General ASCI.

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By Abhinav Kumar

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The ASCI code requires that suitable disclaimers must be used to properly explain and support claims made in advertisements to ensure that consumers can read all the information presented, however, it was being poorly implemented by advertisers. 

We are very well aware that advertisers tend to put disclaimers on their advertisements in a very small font size and placed such that it becomes very difficult to read and understand and many times go unnoticed.

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has now taken note of this and on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, announced revision in its “Guidelines for Disclaimers made in supporting, limiting or explaining claims made in advertisements”. 

The move comes after evaluation of results of a survey conducted by the ASCI involving 130 consumers. The council said that in its survey, 80% of people did not notice the disclaimer, 33% could not understand the disclaimers clearly even after adequate exposure time had been provided and 62% of people felt that the disclaimer was excessively long.

The Advertising Standards Council of India has made the following key additions to the existing guidelines for disclaimers-

Concise and Simplified

The council said that the use of disclaimers should be minimum. Advertisers should refrain from large blocks of text and complex words in the disclaimers as they act as a deterrent to viewers trying to read them. They may also use clear headlines to further help viewers in understanding the content of disclaimer. 

Hold duration and readability

All disclaimers should be clearly readable to consumers and they should also remain on screen for sufficient time so that viewers can easily read them. The ASCI said that there cannot be more than 1 disclaimer and they also should not contain text of more than 2 lines. 

For each line in the disclaimer, it has to be shown on screen for a minimum of 4 seconds. Apart from that, for regulatory requirements where the disclaimer exceeds two lines, additional hold duration should be accounted for accordingly. 

For calculating the total hold duration of disclaimer, all text appearing on screen including the main advertisement will be taken in consideration regardless of where on screen it appears and whether or not it is repeated in audio. Other guidelines remain unchanged. 

Commenting on the changes, Manisha Kapoor, CEO and Secretary-General ASCI said “While ASCI has had disclaimer guidelines since 2016, it was observed that over-use of disclaimers made it difficult for consumers to understand all the information presented in the ad. This is evident from our survey where 80% of consumers did not even notice the disclaimers. Hence, it is important that claims are crafted in a way that minimizes the need for qualificatory disclaimers. Where disclaimers are needed, they should be  presented in a manner that someone who is interested in reading them has the  opportunity to do so.”

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Abhinav Kumar

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Abhinav is the Editor-in-Chief at DreamDTH with over 5 years of experience in covering industry developments. He is passionate about staying appraised of the latest developments in the industry and bringing forth their shortcomings. Specializing in DTH, television, broadcasting, and the entertainment sector, Abhinav is dedicated to exploring the happenings in these dynamic fields. Outside of work, he indulges in podcasts and audiobooks and enjoys unwinding with light-hearted, sci-fi, and thriller shows.

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“Where disclaimers are needed, they should be presented in a manner that someone who is interested in reading them has the opportunity to do so,” said Manisha Kapoor, CEO and Secretary-General ASCI.

ASCI updates disclaimer guidelines tightening the rules

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