Should Celebrities be Punished for Misleading Ads?The parliamentary standing committee on food and consumer affairs has said that celebrities should be hauled up for endorsing products that do not live up to the claims being made in the advertisements.
By Sunil Garodia
It is wrong to pick on celebrities for endorsing products that make tall claims or are misleading. For, any advertisement has more than just the celebrity behind it.
First, it is the manufacturing company. It has several registrations in place from government departments. It is the duty of these departments to verify whether it is producing goods as per the licenses it has been issued. If the company is selling sub-standard products, then government agencies are not doing their work.
Then, it is the advertising agency that conceptualizes and designs the advertisement. If anything, it is here that what is written in the copy or what the celebrity is made to say that is decided. So some amount of blame lies here too. The regulatory body of the profession must have a role in this.
Then, there is the media. It absolves itself by publishing a small boxed item saying that it is not responsible for claims made in advertisements and the public is advised to make their own enquiries. But is it enough?
What if celebrities also do this? Ask companies to flash a similar warning on products they advertise?
If celebrities are being picked upon because it is assumed that it is their drawing power that makes people buy the products, the media is also equally to blame as Indians have immense faith in the media. People are still heard to say that I saw the ad in such and such newspaper or channel, so it must be good.
This is a complex issue and making just the celebrities pay for the misdemeanor of several entities is not the best way.