ASCI Guidelines for Influencer Marketing
Since the pandemic, influencer marketing gained tremendous momentum with brands shifting their focus from larger-than-life billboards to online or social media influencers, to promote products and increase their brand's value.
Influencer marketing is currently estimated at $75 million-$150 million, according to digital marketing agency Ad Lift.
Keeping in mind the way the Influencer market is increasing and how the brands are cashing
in to use Influencers to promote their products, The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has issued draft rules for advertising and promotions by influencers on digital media platforms to protect consumer interest as the watchdog seeks to oversee the burgeoning digital influencer market.
The mainstay of the new draft code is to clearly identify and label upfront that a said communication is an advertisement.
“The biggest part of the new rules is to tell consumers that you are watching an ad and not content. That disclosure has to be in a prominent position," said Manisha Kapoor, secretary general, ASCI.
The code has given guidance on the type of disclosure on the varied promotions such as a video, picture promotion or an audio. In case of audio, the disclosure label must be stated at the beginning and the end.
And also according to the code, filters should not be applied to social media advertisements if they exaggerate the claim that the brand is making. “In case of a shampoo ad, the influencer should not use a filter to make the hair look shinier," said Subhash Kamath, chairman, ASCI, adding that the claims would also have to be truthful and honest.
The New rules will also require the Influencers to provide evidence of performance if they claim any product is better and works efficiently than others.
These rules have been prepared in collaboration with social media stakeholders and influencers. The guidelines are open for public discussion and suggestions can be given till 8th of March.
Nikunj Lothia Famously known as BeyouNick, responded to the new guidelines and welcomed them to quote him further :
This is a welcome change. Many brands have their own directions when they do sponsored posts like mentioning them, putting a mention on copy or a link etc, this brings them into a common operating guideline of what to use and when. It’s a great starting point but it will probably also evolve from here onwards. Digital content creators have their own format of content, some do travel, some practice a skill, some entertain, brands are often involved in specific parts of the content instead of the content at its entirety. It can get confusing or misleading for the audience there. For instance, if I was wearing a jacket bartered with a brand on my road trip where I perform, my performance isn’t really a brand partnership."