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Why Is The Advertising Industry Against The New Self- Declaration Mandate? The goal of this regulation appears to be protecting consumer interests and reducing deceptive advertising. But industry bodies have not taken to it.

By Kavya Pillai

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In an attempt to clarify the self-declaration certificate (SDC) requirement for new advertisements, the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the Broadband India Forum (BIF), and the Association of Radio Operators for India (AROI) have filed impleadment applications in the Supreme Court.

The Indian Medical Association and the Union of India are at odds, and other trade associations such as the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI), the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA), and the Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF) are considering intervening.

The goal of this regulation appears to be protecting consumer interests and reducing deceptive advertising. But industry bodies have not taken to it. It is anticipated that the release of new advertisements may even slow down for the next three weeks.

How is the new mandate affecting the advertising industry?

"The new mandate is going to put a serious onus on the brands to ensure that they fill a self-declaration form before engaging a celebrity/influencer in a digital ad," shared Viraj Seth, Co-founder and CEO of Monk Entertainment. "Not only are they supposed to fill in details but also upload the video asset on the website. This could turn out to be an extremely tedious process," he added. Siddharth Devnani, Co-Founder & Director, SoCheers shared,"The cautious brands, especially in industries where compliance is stringent, have even pushed some campaign dates till they can figure out workflows, implications and what the rest of the industry is doing about it."

What should the revisions include?

As the protocol has been introduced keeping TV and Print in mind. Devnani said,"We need automation to do this in bulk because, as a digital creative agency, we are producing dozens of creative assets a day.Eventually looking at API based declarations within the tools the industry uses. But in the short term, we're expecting clarifications. Time extension with a few months as a testing period will be highly appreciated as well." Chaaya Baradhwaaj, Founder of BC Web Wise added, "By working together to refine the SDC process and address concerns, we can ensure it effectively promotes truthful advertising without creating undue burdens on the industry."

On May 7, the Supreme Court issued an order requiring all advertisers to produce Social Media Content (SDC) prior to publishing or airing new advertisements. The supreme court mandated the SDC to make sure advertisements adhere to laws and regulations and don't make deceptive claims. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) issued a decree in response to the Supreme Court's ruling, mandating that starting on June 18, no new advertisements could be released or shown without the SDC. According to the MIB, the Press Council of India website will be the source of the SDC for print and digital advertisements, while the Broadcast Seva webpage will be the source for TV and radio ads.

ndustry associations had petitioned the MIB to postpone the SDC's implementation until after this directive's comprehensive operational instructions are established.

Kavya Pillai

Entrepreneur Staff

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