The guidelines aim to ensure that influencers explicitly disclose whether a content published is promotional or not.
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) on Thursday, 27 May, issued final guidelines for influencer advertising on digital media.
The draft guidelines initially were issued in February and after taking feedback from all stakeholders – advertisers, agencies, influencers and consumers – was sought.
The guidelines will be applicable to commercial messages or advertisements published on or after June 14, 2021. The guidelines make it mandatory for influencers to label the promotional content they post.
Manisha Kapoor, Secretary-General, ASCI, said “ As part of ASCI’s increasing focus on digital content, we will continue to deploy advanced technology solutions to keep track of advertisements that violate the ASCI code."
In a virtual event held on Thursday, 27 May, the following guidelines were issued:
All advertisements published by social media influencers or their representatives on such influencers’ accounts must carry a disclosure label that clearly identifies it as an advertisement.
The following criteria must be used to determine if the disclosure is required:
Following is the list of disclosure labels permitted. Any one or more can be used:
Kapoor believes that these guidelines will aid in promoting transparency and trust between the audience and influencers.
“For influencers who are here for long run and want to genuinely build their audiences, this is a good opportunity as this will ensure that an influencer acts with responsibility. The response to this feedback has been extremely encouraging,” she told The Quint.
Influencer and dancer Harshada Shinde, said, “Brands want influencers to promote their products and at the same time, they demand that it should not look like it is an advertisement, and this is a form of their marketing strategy. Also when we do not use any disclosure it makes us connect with the audience even better because the moment we display such disclosures, the audience loses interest.”
Influencers are now to do their due diligence about any technical or performance claims made by them, such as three times better, results expected to last a year, fastest speed, etc – a proposal that is expected to boost the credibility of both the brand and the influencer promoting it.
Ankit Agarwal, Founder of Do Your Thng, a branded content marketplace, said that the blurring of the line between ads and simple user-generated content needed to be corrected.
"Users not only have the right to know the difference between the two, they all but demand it. Disclosure labels are unquestionably a step forward in that direction," he added.
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