Guest Column by chef Anahita Dhondy: #EthicallySpeaking 

Published on Sep 17, 2022 02:19 AM IST

With the new tax rules, content creators must be more mindful of posts about collaborations, gifts and events they are invited to

Since the new taxation ruling, the ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) has been on the lookout for branded content (Hexcode)
Since the new taxation ruling, the ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) has been on the lookout for branded content (Hexcode)
ByAnahita Dhondy

I’ve been on Instagram since 2012, and even though I had fewer followers initially (2k to 5k), if I was gifted something, I used to say that I had received a gift.  

At that time, multiple things weren’t coming to the house daily. Creators were more conscious about the brands they worked with. One of my earliest barters was with Little Black Book, where I was gifted something in return for posting on social media and there was no #invited or #gifted hashtag. 

It was in 2016 or 2017 when partnerships really started and I did things for brands that paid me to create content for them. And that escalated during the lockdown as people looked at social media all day.  

Say it as it is 

When the content is paid for, you disclose it. Just like you would if something is gifted or if you have been invited somewhere. So, when a brand recently asked me to make a post organic and omit mentioning that an item had been gifted, it triggered me. I stated that I would be happy to pay for the product they had sent. 

That’s because the audience often wonders if something is a gift or an actual purchase. And your followers shouldn’t be unsure. Creators need to be transparent to maintain the trust of their followers. You need to explain the association you have with the brand.  

Even today, I see so many influencers with proper branded content that they don’t declare as such, which is ethically wrong. And leads to followers being misled.  

Organic approach 

If I have tried something and really enjoyed it, then I will go back and post about it after a month or something. That will be a genuine post that will spark conversations.  

From the beginning, just a few people  have been transparent.

These include Sherry Shroff and Riaan George.  

Since the new taxation ruling, the ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) has been on the lookout for branded content. During a recent giveaway I had done where the brand was paying for the products, the ASCI emailed me, saying that the hashtag should have indicated that the products were sponsored by the brand. So, I corrected it.  

The government wants everything to be aligned and transparent and it’s high time that creators did that. 

Anahita Dhondy
Anahita Dhondy

(As told to Karishma Kuenzang)

Anahita Dhondy is a chef and author of The Parsi Kitchen, who is currently working on a new restaurant and book number two.  

I Say Chaps is a column that allows passionate, creative people a platform to have their say.

From HT Brunch, September 17, 2022

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