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Narendra Ambwani elected chairman of ASCI

MUMBAI: The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), at a board meeting held today, unanimously elected Agro Tech Foods Ltd director Narendra Ambwani as chairman of the board of ASCI. He replaces Partha Rakshit, who is now part of the board of governors for ASCI.

A member of the ASCI board of governors for seven years, Ambwani has provided active support to self-regulation in the advertising movement.

ASCI’s outgoing chairman Partha Rakshit said, “Last year has been a very eventful and successful year for us. There has been more than 90 per cent compliance towards advertisements wherein a complaint against an advertisement was ‘upheld’. In a noteworthy achievement, ASCI issued guidelines on skin lightening and fairness products which ensured that these advertisements do not depict people with dark skin as somehow inferior to those who are fairer. Also recently, government took notice of ASCI’s efforts to curb teleshopping ads that violate the ASCI Code and ensured a strict compliance of the advertising code in the Cable Television Networks Act (CTN).”

Ambwani added, “There has been tremendous change in ASCI’s approach towards advertising content and adherence to the ASCI’s guidelines by the advertisers. Earlier, we acted primarily on complaint received from the public or the industry body. In the coming year, we hope to promote ASCI’s guidelines more vigorously among advertisers and creative agencies so that new ads meet ASCI’s standards at the creative stage itself. We also hope to collaborate strongly with the regulators and consumer groups to ensure fairness and responsibility in advertising.”

Benoy Roychowdhury was elected vice-chairman and Shashidhar Sinha was appointed honorary treasurer of ASCI.

The other members of the new board of governors include Hemant Bakshi, Arvind Sharma, Dilip Cherian, SK Palekar, Jayant Singh, Subhash Kamath, Srinivasan Swamy, Rajan Anandan, Shantanu Khosla, Abanti Sankarnarayanan, I Venkat, Arunabh DasSharma and Partha Rakshit.

Other aspects discussed at the meeting were that during the year 2013–14, the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) met 41 times and considered complaints against 1,937 advertisements. Of these, complaints against 1,520 advertisements were upheld, while 414 were not upheld and three were considered non-issues.

In more than 90 per cent of the cases where a complaint against the advertisement was upheld, the advertisements have been voluntarily withdrawn or modified as per the CCC’s decisions.