The Central Consumer Protection Authority (“CCPA”) vide its notification dated June 9, 2022, has issued the “Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022” (“Advertisement Guidelines”). The Advertisement Guidelines have been issued pursuant to powers conferred by section 18 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (“CPA”) to provide for the prevention of false or misleading advertisements and making endorsements relating thereto.
Misleading Advertisements is already defined under section 2(28) under the CPA. In addition to the definitions provided under CPA, following are some of the significant definitions introduced through the Advertisement Guidelines:
(a) “advertiser" which means a person who designs, produces and publishes advertisements either by his own effort or by entrusting it to others in order to promote the sale of his goods, products or services and includes a manufacturer and service provider of such goods, products or services;
(b) “advertising agency" which means a person or an establishment providing services in designing and production of advertisements or other related services for a commission or fee;
(c) “bait advertisement” which means an advertisement in which goods, product or service is offered for sale at a low price to attract consumers;
(d) “endorser” which includes an individual or a group or an institution making endorsement of any goods, product or service in an advertisement whose opinion, belief, finding or experience being the message which such advertisement appears to reflect;
(e) “surrogate advertisement” which means an advertisement for goods, product or service, whose advertising is otherwise prohibited or restricted by law, by circumventing such prohibition or restriction and portraying it to be an advertisement for other goods, product or service, the advertising of which is not prohibited or restricted by law.
Further, in view of the sensitivity towards children, Advertisement Guidelines prohibits advertisements from exaggerating the features of product or service in such manner as to lead children to have unrealistic expectations of such product or service or exaggerate what is attainable by an ordinary child using the product being marketed. Advertisement Guidelines amongst others states that advertisement targeting children shall not feature any personalities from the field of sports, music or cinema for products which under any law requires a health warning for such advertisement or cannot be purchased by children or include a direct exhortation to children to purchase any goods, product or service or to persuade their parents, guardians or other persons to purchase such goods, product or service for them.
Advertisement Guidelines specifies that disclaimer shall not attempt to hide material information with respect to any claim made in such advertisement, the omission or absence of which is likely to make the advertisement deceptive or conceal its commercial intent and shall not attempt to correct a misleading claim made in an advertisement. Advertisement Guidelines under paragraph 12 provides for the duties of the manufacturer service provider, advertiser, and advertising agency in order to protect the interest of the consumers and allow consumers to make an informed decision.
The Advertisement Guidelines have come into effect immediately upon its publication in the gazette on June 10, 2022.
This update has been contributed by Namitha Mathews (Partner) & Jalaj Mahajan (Associate).
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