Did you know, by 2017, the global adverting industry was valued at $1.3 trillion? If that sounds confusing, it means that brands all over the world are spending $1.2 trillion to advertise their products. This is basically the amount, brands are spending so that the consumer is persuaded to buy their products or services. The steady increase in this number suggests that these advertisements are clearly working.
However, with modern times, as consumers are getting smarter, brands are also aiming for ethical advertising. That being said, there is still a section of brands that still convey misleading messages through their advertisements. Additionally, sometimes products are also endorsed by superstars, making their message even more convincing. With the consumer’s safety in question with all of this, a bill that protects this right was the need of the hour. Thankfully, the Rajya Sabha recently passed a new bill, Consumer Protection Bill, which “proposes stiff penalties for manufacturers and celebrities endorsing a false or misleading advertisement”.
Once this bill becomes a law, some of the majorly hit ones would be beauty brands. With a certain face cream promising to give you skin so fair that you nail a job interview, or major celebrity calming down because she uses a menthol infused dandruff shampoo, it clearly was the need of the hour. While there is nothing wrong in celebrities endorsing products, it is only fair expect those depictions to be fair and true. If a celebrity is endorsing a product in an advertisement, we better hope they use it in real life too.
So how do we know that an advertisement is actually misleading? According to the bull, a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) will be put in place a protector of consumer rights. The CCPA will be headed by a Director-General to investigate these unethical adverts and decide on punishments. They are also authorised to initiate class-action lawsuits against endorsers.
If found out, the CCPA can penalise manufacturers and celebrity endorsers up to Rs 10 Lakh for misleading the consumer. This is in addition to the imprisonment of up to two years for false advertising. These are followed by more severe punishments like jail terms for repeat offenders, going up to total banning from advertising. The move has been taken in order to minimise exploitation of customer emotions to sell a product and we think it’s about time!
We for one, can’t wait for the bill to be turned into a law. What about you? Let us know what you think about this move in comments below!