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What the new ASCI guidelines will mean for influencers

We saw brands’ love for influencer marketing explode last year and it has only been growing since then. In the wake of this development, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has decided to release a new set of guidelines for influencers and their content.

The Chairman of ASCI, Subhash Kamath said, “In the digital world, the lines between content and advertising have increasingly started to blur. It is extremely important for consumers to be able to distinguish between regular posts and promotional content. We believe these guidelines will not only help consumers to identify promotional content but also guide social media influencers to become more responsible when promoting brands.” (Source: The Hindu Business Line).

So, what does this mean for influencer marketing? Let’s take a look.

Compulsory ad labels on influencers’ content

All paid influencer content must have an ad label provided upfront. This is so that the consumer can distinguish it from organic content in the first glance. The ad label can only be from the approved list provided by ASCI which include: #ad #collab #promo #sponsored #partnership

Ad labels on Picture/Video/Audio

The ad label needs to be superimposed on the visual when the content is unaccompanied by text like a picture or a video. Audio formats should have the disclaimer announced in the beginning itself.

Restrictions on the use of AR Filters

Filters cannot be used for content that makes beauty and cosmetic related claims like shinier hair, clearer skin, whiter teeth, etc.

Due diligence by influencers

Influencers will be responsible for any claims the brands are making through their content. So, they need to perform due diligence for any technical or performance claims and should have evidence of it being done which could be correspondence with the advertiser or brand owner verifying the validity of such claims.

All these guidelines are available for download on ASCI’s website and are open for feedback till 21.03.2021. While these guidelines will definitely improve consumer experience on social media, only time will tell how it will impact the influencer marketing industry.

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