Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The loopholes in the Indian surrogate advertising norms, lack of pre-screening for radio ads...read

Kingfisher until recently had an advertisement running on private radio channels, promoting its newly launched strong beer, Kingfisher Ultra Max. The new 'strong beer' variant from the Kingfisher stable has been brought on to compete with SAB Miller and AB Inbev that already have expensive versions of strong beer, which is the most popular variant among Indian beer consumers.

In the radio ad, the company went ahead with using the word 'beer' several times, only 'beeping' out the word 'beer' in the name of censoring. While the word was beeped out, the Kingfisher ad also contained several suggestive descriptions for the product -- calling it a perfect blend, perfect for a road trip with friends, or a weekend getaway, each time beeping the word 'beer'. It also didn't mention the product they are actually promoting through the ad, like mineral water, music, cassettes and CDs, soda, in the radio ad.

All these are clear violations of the surrogate advertising norm in India, which prohibits an alcohol and tobacco brand from directly advertising its products. Under surrogate advertising though, it can promote its brand with the help of alternate products or brand extensions -- Cassettes and CDs, music, mineral water, sodas, events and sports franchises.

Some recent examples of the surrogate advertising on air recently are Smirnoff's brand extension 'Smirnoff Experience', which organises events and concerts; Johnnie Walker and Jack Daniels have created surrogate extensions by identifying and awarding achievers in various fields. Blenders' Pride also created an event company for the purpose of brand extension through the Blenders Pride Fashion Tour 2015. Another brand under United Spirits, Royal Challenge, has a sports drink, while Seagrams 100 Pipers brand has tied up with NGOs to honour philanthropy under the 'Be remembered for good' campaign.

Kingfisher, on the other hand, with the Ultra Max beer radio ad, decided to go right out and flout the surrogate advertising rules.
http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report-has-the-kingfisher-ultra-max-radio-ad-crossed-the-fine-line-in-surrogate-advertising-2148408

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