Jaldi 5 with Sam Balsara: ASCI works despite no teeth

03 Oct,2012

While the CII National Committee on Marketing released a white paper on ‘Self-regulation in Advertising in India – A Critical Evaluation’ that advocates Advertising Standards Council of India’s track record in self-regulation of ads, MxM India caught up with Sam Balsara, ASCI’s past chairman.


1. One of the key recommendations of the white paper is the mandatory membership of ASCI. How does ASCI plan to push that?

Over the last 10 years, ASCI and I personally have taken the initiative to sign up more advertisers, media vehicles, and advertising agencies. With this CII recommendation of ASCI, I am hoping that industry would want to be a past of ASCI.


2. Why has the industry been so slow to sign up?

Low awareness can be one. Also, there if they sign up, the contract says that they cannot take us to court. But I am sure that once the industry gets to know of good points about signing up, they would want to associate with ASCI.


3. Would more members, or less as the case is right now, give more teeth to ASCI?

The beauty of ASCI lies in the fact that it does not have teeth and still works with the advertisers who make false claims. What happens is if we blacklist an ad, the frustration and anger in the advertiser rises. The bigger the advertiser, greater the anger.


4. How does this help?

In self-regulation. Co-regulation in itself helps the environment to become more facilitating. This enables ASCI to have more teeth.


5. How many ads go off-air after ASCI blacklists them?

The CII report says that it is close to 80 percent. But this is the number that inform ASCI in writing that they have taken the ad off-air. The number would be greater. Some prefer to pull it off without informing ASCI.


(As told to Ananya Saha)


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