‘To my organization, business associates,
industry and to society at large, I pledge to ensure honesty &
truthfulness, decency in advertising, non-exploitation of vulnerable sections
of society especially children, fairness in competition. I commit myself to
advertising with a conscience.’

About 240 industry representatives, under
the banner of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), have signed this
pledge to create advertising with a conscience. They took the pledge to
sensitize younger advertising professionals about creating responsible

CEOs and mid-level managers across sectors
and advertising agencies have come forward to support the movement, which began
last week at the GoaFest, an annual conclave of advertisers and creative

ASCI along with Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) held
the ‘Creativity with a Conscience’ contest at the fest to create awareness
about the ASCI codes of responsible advertising among the attendees.

‘ASCI has been spreading awareness on
self-regulation in advertising for many years. We felt the need to broaden the
scope so that leaders can act as inspirational role models for youngsters in
the industry who are eventually going to create the advertisements,’ said Rajiv
Dube, chairman, ASCI.

ASCI has been creating awareness among
people over the last few years to come forward and register complaints against
advertisements which they feel are misleading, dishonest, unfair or not in good
taste. ‘The aim is to build consumer confidence in advertising,’ said Sam
Balsara, chairman, Madison World.

Balsara, who is also a consultative
committee member of ASCI, said the council would continue to plead with the
industry so that more leaders and individuals come forward to take the pledge.

the GoaFest itself, the ASCI announced the launch of its Ambassador programme
to promote self-regulation of creativity in Indian advertising. The programme
aims to use peer networking to enrol more support from the Indian advertising
and marketing fraternity.

Alan Collaco, secretary general, ASCI,
said, ‘In the recent past, ASCI launched three key self-regulation guidelines
regarding advertising in food, auto and educational sectors. These guidelines
have gained wide acceptance as the right direction towards promoting
self-regulation of advertising in these sectors.The ASCI Ambassador programme
aims to take the ASCI mission a step further by using mentor influence to
generate support amongst advertising and marketing professionals at all levels
in promoting the cause of advertising with a conscience.’

It should be noted here that the CEOs of
seven food companies, in a pledge signed last year, had decided to abide by the
principle of responsible advertising and marketing to children. This was the
first such self-regulatory pledge in India and was on the lines of the one in
the European Union.

As per the pledge, there would be no
advertising of food and beverage products to children under the age of 12
(advertising to media audiences where at least half are children under the age
of 12), on television, print, radio, or the Internet, with the exception of
products that fulfil specific nutrition criteria based on accepted scientific
evidence and/or applicable national and international dietary guidelines.

agreement also disallows engagement in any commercial communications related to
food and beverage products in primary schools, unless it is specifically
requested by the school administration for educational purposes.

aforementioned exception is applicable in this case as well.Companies which had become signatories to
the pledge were Indian subsidiaries of global majors such as Coca-Cola,
PepsiCo, Nestle, Kellogg, Mars International, General Mills and Hindustan
Unilever. Cadbury India was a notable exception from the list.

the picture: ASCI ambassadors taking pledge to advertise with a conscience