Industry players react to ASCI guidelines for influencer advertising
Earlier this week, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) released draft guidelines for influencer advertising on digital platforms. It further stated that the body aims to finalise the guidelines by end of March. Social media influencers are expected to receive new set of guidelines with respect to promotional posts, and they will be required to specify whether the content posted or published by them is an advertisement.
Kunal Kishore Sinha, Co-founder of influencer marketing startup ClanConnect, says, "ASCI's newly issued guidelines for influencer marketing will unlock a wealth of new opportunities for the fast-evolving segment that will result in positive outcomes for the sector in the long run."
Since the pandemic, influencer marketing gained tremendous momentum with brands shifting their focus from larger-than-life billboards to online or social media influencers, to promote products and increase their brand's value.
Statista reported that the ad spending in social media advertising segment is projected to reach $863 million in 2021. It further states that the ad spending in India will grow at a CAGR of 5.79 percent, reaching market volume of $1,081 million by 2025.
"When a major industry body such as the ASCI deems that there is a need to introduce guidelines for influencers and the influencer marketing community, it shows how the market has evolved and has assumed a mainstream stature in the larger advertising space. These guidelines will not only streamline the space and offer a direction but also ensure that there is an added sense of social responsibility amongst the influencer community," Kunal added.
Here is how industry leaders and social media influencers reacted to the new guidelines:
Aayush Tiwari, Head of Talent Acquisition, Monk Entertainment
“I believe that the latest issued ASCI guidelines is a good step to secure the future of now one of the most popular ways of brand promotions - influencer marketing. As the guidelines states, consumers, here disguised as a follower, should have all the rights to know what’s being uploaded organically and what’s a paid advertisement. This declaration also will motivate the influencer to study about the brand/product and investigate their claims before they go all out publicizing them. Post formulation we’ll surely see less cases of misleading advertisements, safeguarding both the consumer spends and influencers getting caught off guard for their claims."
BeYouNick aka Nikunj Lotia, Digital Content Creator
"This is a welcome change. Many brands have their own directions when they do sponsored posts like mentioning them, putting a mention on copy or a link etc, this brings them into a common operating guideline of what to use and when. It’s a great starting point but it will probably also evolve from here onwards. Digital content creators have their own format of content, some do travel, some practice a skill, some entertain, brands are often involved in specific parts of the content instead of the content at its entirety. It can get confusing or misleading for the audience there. For instance, if I was wearing a jacket bartered with a brand on my road trip where I perform, my performance isn’t really a brand partnership."
Sanjyot Keer, Chef and Founder of Your Food Lab:
"..Different rules for different content types and platforms would be very difficult to follow and even difficult to regulate as drafted by the ASCI. Other guidelines suggested by ASCI such as non usage of filters when referring to ‘whiter teeth’ and claims such as 2x better, are in the favor of the consumer. As a creator we always look into these claims before highlighting it in our branded content, but unfortunately i see ads on television not following such norms which are regulated often but also are not followed by many brands...
The rise of influencer marketing and its potential is huge and yes, there should be guidelines in place but the guidelines should also not hinder content viewing experience. Working with platforms is a better way to start and content creators also should work with brands with their due diligence keeping their viewers in mind."
Raj Shamani, Digital Content Creator, Keynote Speaker, Podcaster and Founder of Shamani Industries
"Influencer marketing works on one word “Integration”. At the end of the day content is not a TVC or commercial, it’s an integration. I think on the video or post, stating it's sponsored or paid will hamper the creativity of an Influencer. The better way would be telling people that the post or reel is sponsored in the caption because the reason why influencer marketing works and the reason why people prefer watching ads in form of content over TVC is because how seamlessly content creators are integrating brands. And if there has to be a disclaimer for a paid post, it needs to be at the point when the influencer is showing the brand or talking about the product and not in the beginning or entire video. If done at the beginning it will kill the vibe of influencer marketing. I also believe that influencers should take responsibility and only promote the brands which they are genuinely using or brands they can vouch on."
Varun Mayya, Education Influencer and Founder of"The best creators in India have loyal audiences who can withstand and are okay with promotions because they really like the personality or content of the creator. They understand that they have a livelihood and need to maintain that. I doubt the guidelines would affect their creativity. But what it really will be, is a test of loyalty. Today we judge creators by just the number of followers or number of views, but it is about time we start judging them by their loyalty and quality of content...Also there are some gray areas here: What if the creator is promoting his own company, like in the case of Virat Kohli and Wrogn? My initial thoughts are that the kickback reaction will be that this will promote more creators to business owners and use their massive distribution to sell their own products."
Edited by Teja Lele