In what could put an end to the uncertain ways of the world of surrogate advertising, the information and broadcasting ministry has mandated the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) and the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) to come up with a set of guidelines that will decide on an ads surrogacy.
"In the view of the immense subjectivity in the matter, IBF and NBA have been asked to come up with a framework that will help determine whether a particular advertisement is that of a genuine brand extension or of a surrogate product," a senior official said.
The decision was taken during a meeting on June 27 where, besides health and I&B ministry officials, there was representation from the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), IBF, NBA, and the tobacco and alcoholic beverages industries. "We have been asked to present the guidelines within three weeks," said Naresh Chahal, director, IBF.
Till 2008, the government had totally banned tobacco, alcohol and cigarette producers to advertise their co-products or brand extensions on TV. Rules were relaxed in a government notification on February 27, 2009.
In 2010, the government had declared a blanket ban on all such ads while the industry feels there are cases of genuine brand extensions too as opposed to surrogate ads.
"We are also considering the setting up of a committee which will examine all advertisements in the drawing board level itself, much before they are taken up for airing," said Deepak Jacob, executive vice-president, Star TV, and a committee member of IBF.