ASCI’s Guidelines for Charitable Advertisements

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) introduced comprehensive guidelines to ensure responsible and sensitive charitable advertisements. These guidelines, set to take effect on 1st August, are aimed at safeguarding viewers from undue distress and upholding the dignity of those represented in such campaigns.

Understanding ASCI – The Guardian of Advertising Standards

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) serves as an authoritative industry body responsible for regulating advertising practices within India. Its core mission is to uphold the integrity and credibility of advertisements while protecting consumers from misleading, offensive, or harmful content. By enforcing a code of conduct, ASCI ensures that advertising remains ethical and accountable.

The Implementation of Responsible Guidelines

Effective from 1st August, ASCI’s guidelines for charitable advertisements intend to provide a structured framework for charitable organizations and advertisers to create impactful campaigns without causing unnecessary distress to viewers. The guidelines seek to strike a balance between raising awareness and funds for important causes while protecting the emotional well-being of the audience.

Charitable Advertisements and the Dominance of Digital Media

In recent times, charitable organizations have been actively using digital media platforms for their advertising efforts. The rise of social media, crowdfunding initiatives, and online fundraising campaigns has made digital media a preferred avenue for charities to reach potential donors and supporters. ASCI’s guidelines take this shift into account while ensuring that responsible practices are followed on these platforms.

Safeguarding Viewers from Undue Distress

According to the guidelines, charitable advertisements should avoid causing undue distress to viewers. While it is essential to elicit empathy and support, ads must be sensitive in their approach to protect the emotional well-being of the audience. The aim is to educate and inspire without overwhelming viewers with graphic or distressing imagery.

Responsible Image Usage

Advertisements, particularly those involving children and minors, must refrain from using graphic images of victims in distress. While such images may have a powerful impact, they can cause significant distress to viewers. Advertisers are encouraged to use images responsibly and with utmost consideration for the potential emotional impact on the audience.

Obtaining Express Consent for Image Usage

Advertisers must be prepared to provide evidence of express consent for the use of images of beneficiaries if requested. This ensures that the individuals featured in the advertisements have willingly given permission to be associated with the campaign.

Ensuring Privacy and Consent in Digital Advertising

Digital advertisements that could potentially cause distress to ordinary consumers must be blurred or made visible only to interested individuals. This ensures that those who choose to engage with the content are prepared for potentially sensitive imagery.

Transparency in Fund Usage

Charitable advertisements should disclose if the funds raised for a specific beneficiary or case could potentially be used for other purposes or other beneficiaries. Transparency is crucial in fostering trust and credibility among potential donors.

Clarity on Crowdsourcing Platform Fees

If a crowdsourcing platform charges a percentage or fee for handling donor funds, the advertisement should explicitly disclose the specific monetary values associated with the charges. Transparency about the fees ensures that donors are fully aware of how their contributions will be utilized.



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