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Surrogate Ads blatantly displayed

March 21, 2007

Surrogate advertising never goes away. I saw a blatant example of this on television a few days ago. Smirnoff was advertising ‘Smirnoff Green Apple CD’s and Cassettes’. Another ad that is painting the town red – on hoardings, newspaper ads and posters – is this one, apparently for ‘Scottish Distillary Destinations’:

I saw an ad for Mcdowell’s number 1 soda too, on the widely watched KBC.

Over the years there have been a lot of protests regarding surrogate advertising. In 2002 for example, the government panel (including representatives from NGOs and the ad industry) monitoring these ads issued notices to over 10 TV channels which were airing surrogate liquor and cigarette ads, both of which had been banned by the government. Brands like Aristocrat Whisky, 8 PM, Whitehall, Smirnoff Vodka, Haywards, Royal Challenge, Kingfisher and Charms cigarettes were all accused of airing surrogate ads which purported to sell a wide variety of products ranging from audio cassettes and CDs to darting kits, golf accessories, water and soda under their brand names. In 2003, IBF (Indian Broadcasting Foundation) decided that Jagatjit Industries and other liquor manufacturing units must get their ads approved at the `storyboard stage’ as well after production. It had been discovered that Jagatjit Industries (they make Aristrocrat Whisky) were advertising `Aristrocrat Apple Juice’ but the product was not available in the shops.

In 2005-2006 the government asked 43 channels to “express regret and carry warnings for having aired surrogate advertisements of liquor and tobacco products in violation of rules.”

I went on the Smirnoff site and found no evidence of any CD’s or audio or video cassettes.

If anyone sees any kind of objectionable ad, not just a surrogate ad, and they want to do something about it, this is where they can complain. Its a very simple procedure. In India very few people actually complain about advertising they find objectionable. In developed countries, the advertising regulatory bodies recieve complaints in tens of thousands, but our Advertising Standards Council of India recieves complaints in the hundreds – and that too not always. There is strength in numbers so don’t hesitate if you feel strongly about any ad.

Related Reading: The standards of advertising in India

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2007 12:12 am

    Thanks for the link. I guess people are not aware of what they can do – otherwise there would have been millions of complaints to ASCI, not just hundreds.

  2. March 22, 2007 8:51 am

    Thats true. I think people here do feel very strongly about misleading advertising. In fact I often hear people talking about it…on public transport as well as in offices. I think the advertising standards council of India should conduct awareness campaigns. Most people hesitate to complain because they don’t want to get into bureaucratic hassles.

  3. March 22, 2007 3:32 pm

    I will bring your notice the soda ad which claims that their soda is what macho men drink and milk is for the meek.It can leave a wrong impression on young boys. It is about Haywards soda.

  4. urvashi permalink
    December 27, 2007 6:29 pm

    surrogate advertising always have a hint of thier main product. This is either known through the sam punchline or the culture which is shown in the ad.

  5. Neha permalink
    December 31, 2007 11:22 am

    I totally agree that these surrogate ads are misleading.
    They not only give a wrong picture but also try to remind you the that- they are there inspite of all the bans put by ASCI be it in the form of soda, packaged drinking water or cassettes n Cds.

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