According to the Consumer Affairs Ministry’s new guidelines, endorsements must reflect the endorsers’ genuine opinions, beliefs, or experiences. The endorsers must make material connection disclosures, or face a penalty under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). Any relationship that has a material impact on the weight or credibility of any endorsement that a reasonable consumer would not expect is considered material.
“If there exists a connection between the endorser and the trader, manufacturer or advertiser of the endorsed product that might materially affect the value or credibility of the endorsement and the connection is not reasonably expected by the audience, such connection shall be fully disclosed in making the endorsement,” the guidelines said. Violation of these guidelines will attract a penalty of Rs 10 lakh for the first offence and Rs 50 lakh for a subsequent offence under the Consumer Protection Act.
The new guidelines ‘Prevention of misleading advertisements and necessary due diligence for endorsement of advertisements’, which came into effect from June 10, 2022, have been issued to prevent misleading advertisements. It provides various criteria for an advertisement to be considered valid and non-misleading and gives clarity on bait advertisements, surrogate advertisements and free claims advertisements.