The Advertising Standards Council of India or ASCI has released new guidelines meant for influencer advertising on digital media platforms such as Instagram or Youtube. The new guidelines mandate the need for all promotional content that is being published by social media influencers or representatives to carry a disclosure label identifying the same as an advertisement.
Furthermore, the new laws urge influencers to provide due diligence regarding products or services that are promoted via their accounts with ASCI stating that it was critical for consumers to distinguish between something being promoted and something that is not. This includes the likes of products that might feature an influence of the influencer's opinion or behaviour for commercial gains.
The new guidelines will come into effect on June 14 as per certain reports with mandates in place that require influencers to label their content appropriately to help consumers understand whether or not the content is an advertisement. ASCI also emphasises prominent disclosure that will not be confusing to the viewer. Influencers are also required to review and satisfy themselves with the product before advertising the same.
What Do The New Laws Mention
ASCI mentions that influencers are required to add a disclosure to their posts only if there is any material connected to the advertiser. This might be in the form of monetary compensation, freebies or any other compromise that has been put in place between the two parties. This is to be done in a manner that is not hard to miss, meaning it should not be buried under hashtags or links and disclosure tools should be used.
In case adverts or videos are posted, the disclosure label should be showcased over the content, with labels like ads, sponsored, collaboration, partnership, employee and free gift on offer.
For videos that are 15 seconds or longer, the disclosure label is required to be there for at least 3 seconds, with videos over two minutes requiring the same for the entire duration of the video. For videos longer than 15 seconds but less than 2 mins, the disclosure label should be there for one-third the length of the video.
Finally, in the case of audio media such as podcasts, the disclosure must be announced at the beginning and towards the end of the audio, as well as before and after every break taken in between. During live streams, the disclosure label should be announced at the beginning and the end of the broadcast.