MIB ISSUES ADVISORY TO CURB SURROGATE ADVERTISEMENT OF TOBACCO AND ALCOHOL PRODUCTS ON TV CHANNELS

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The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on September 15, 2020 has issued an advisory with a view to curb surrogate advertisements, saying that such ads are to be previewed and certified by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) on whether they are suitable for unrestricted public exhibition and are in accordance with stipulated conditions. The advisory comes in wake of Ministry getting references about surrogate advertisements of prohibited products.  Read the advisory here.

The Advisory stated that Rule 7(2)(viii)(A) of Advertising Code enshrined under Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 prohibits direct or indirect advertisements of cigarettes, tobacco products, wine, alcohol, liquor or other intoxicants. However, advertisements of genuine products sharing brand name or logo of such products are permissible subject to specified conditions prescribed therein. The rule thus aims at prohibiting surrogate advertisements while at the same time allowing advertisements of genuine brand extensions subject to specified conditions.

Further, second proviso of Rule 7(2)(viii)(A) provides that such advertisement has to be previewed and certified by Central Board of Film Certification as suitable for unrestricted public exhibition and are in accordance with stipulated conditions.

Accordingly the I&B Ministry has advised that all such surrogate advertisements  strictly follow the stipulations contained in the Rules and are previewed and certified by Central Board of Film certification (CBFC) before being telecast on Television.

Rule 7(viii) of the Advertisement Code reads as under:

  1. Advertising Code. – (2) (2) No advertisement shall be permitted which-

(viii) promotes directly or indirectly production, sale or consumption of- (A) cigarettes, tobacco products, wine, alcohol, liquor or other intoxicants;

[Provided that a product that uses a brand name or logo, which is also used for cigarettes, tobacco products, wine, alcohol, liquor, or other intoxicants, may be advertised on cable services subject to the following conditions that- (i) the story board or visual of the advertisement must depict only the product being advertised and not the prohibited products in any form or manner; (ii) the advertisement must not make any direct or indirect reference to prohibited products; (iii) the advertisement must not contain any nuances or phrases promoting prohibited products; (iv) the advertisement must not use particular colours and layout or presentations associated with prohibited products; (v) the advertisement must not use situations typical for promotion of prohibited products when advertising the other products: Provided further that – (i) the advertiser shall submit an application with a copy of the proposed advertisement along with a certificate by a registered Chartered Accountant that the product carrying the same name as cigarettes, tobacco products, wine, alcohol, liquor or other intoxicants is distributed in reasonable quantity and is available in a substantial number of outlets where other products of the same category are available and the proposed expenditure on such advertising thereon shall not be disproportionate to the actual sales turnover of the product: (ii) all such advertisements found to be genuine brand extensions by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting shall be previewed and certified by the Central Board of Film Certification as suitable for unrestricted public exhibition and are in accordance with the provisions contained in sub-clause (i) to (v) of the first proviso, prior to their telecast or transmission or retransmission.]

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