The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a self-regulatory body in the advertising industry, recently published “The Annual Complaints Report FY 21-’22”, which details the complaints it has reviewed and the advertisements it has processed. The six main infringement categories showed the emergence of industries such as gaming and cryptocurrency. Others included education, health care, personal care, and food and drink.
The importance of the digital ecosystem was reflected in the fact that 48% of the ads processed by ASCI were published digitally. 29% of the complaints submitted were about influencers.
The regulator reviewed 394 virtual digital asset (VDA) listings, with 98% of the listings appearing on digital platforms. He noted that most of these ads were instances where influencers talked about browsing VDA platforms or sharing information about the platform’s category and usability.
“Of some ads that made misleading claims, leadership and consumer confidence claims were the most common. Guaranteed earnings and performance comparisons with other forms of investment, such as investing in gold and stocks, followed. Other common allegations involved promoting the category through an endorsement program. claims such as refer a friend and earn,” the report claims.
Mastering the Finfluencing Community
For some time now, there has been a growing call to master the widespread influence of influencers on social media. These people have several thousand followers and often promote financial products without due diligence or warning. New investors, influenced by their playful and gastronomic content, invest in tax products, despite their poor knowledge.
An example of this is the recent merger of Vauld, a Singapore-based crypto exchange. A few weeks ago, motivational speaker and influencer Ankur Warikoo marketed it to his 2 million YouTube subscribers. He was not alone; other influencers such as Akshat Srivastava, who has 1.12 million YouTube subscribers, and Booming Bulls, who also have 1.09 million subscribers, promoted loan startups.
However, on June 21, Vauld founder Darshan Bathija announced that the company was laying off 30% of its staff. A few days later, he wrote a blog post stating that the company was suspending all activities – withdrawals, trades and deposits on their platform. He explained that this decision was made due to a combination of circumstances, such as volatile market conditions, financial difficulties of key trading partners that inevitably affect Vauld, and the current market environment.
As investors panicked, news leaked that Warikoo was allegedly paid Rs 4.47 lakh for his Vauld promotional video. Coming under fire on social media for marketing the lending platform, Warikoo claimed that his own investments worth Rs 30 lakh were locked into the start-up.
It’s not all a game
In the gaming category, ASCI saw a 472% increase to 383 rated ads. Of these, 99% of the reported ads appeared on the digital platform, with TV and print media each accounting for just 1%.
Statista reports that Indians spend an average of 2 hours and 36 minutes a day on social media platforms. Games are a big part of India’s digital landscape, and this sector is extremely popular with a young audience who spend hours on their digital screens.
Given the high engagement rate of this medium, gamers have considerable influence, especially with their young subscribers. Brands use their digital presence to promote products and services, overtly or covertly.
Recently, WinZO, an interactive entertainment platform, has engaged Ajey Nagar, also known as “CarryMinati”, as a brand ambassador. As part of the partnership, the content creator will generate gaming-focused WinZO content exclusively on its YouTube streaming channel “Carryislive,” which has 11.2 million subscribers and a solo integration on its main YouTube channel.” CarryMinati” , which has 36.1 million subscribers. .
To bring some transparency to the ecosystem, ASCI last June introduced influencer guidelines that require influencers to label the promotional content they post. To monitor possible violations of these guidelines, the organization partnered with a French technology supplier, Reech.
ASCI Secretary General Manisha Kapoor said: “The Reech Influence Cloud platform uses artificial intelligence to identify the lack of disclosure of commercial posts on social media. Machine learning algorithms and pattern finding with Regex (Regular Expression) maximizing accuracy. of ASCI’s growing interest in digital content, we will continue to deploy advanced technology solutions to track ads that violate the ASCI code.”
As advertising moves more and more to digital platforms, checking ads for deceptive content becomes increasingly difficult. It’s also because the explosion of digital screens is leading people to consume more ads on their personal devices, making it difficult for regulators to understand their magnitude and impact.
“The number of ad units for creatives has exploded and it is estimated that the average person is exposed to 6,000 to 10,000 ads per day,” noted ASCI. In this ever-changing space, the regulator will stand and propose new ways to protect consumers without violating the creativity of content creators.