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According to the ASCI report “Objectionable ads in the Beauty and Personal Care category and the rising impact of influencer marketing & D2C brands”, social media influencers were responsible for 68% of the ads processed in the personal care category, out of which 92% violated the ASCI Code and required modifications.

77% were not contested and the voluntary compliance rate stood at 91%.

Only in 2 % of cases, were influencers/brands able to provide evidence that the challenged posts did not have any material connection and thus were dismissed by ASCI.

Last month, Consumer Affairs Ministry revealed the endorsement guidelines for social media influencers. In case of violation of the guidelines, the CCPA can impose a fine of Rs 10 lakhs and can go up to Rs 50 lakhs if the endorser makes a repeated violation. As per the guidelines, the ministry can ask the endorser to stop endorsing products or services for a period of six months to two years, if they are found not complying with the guidelines on a repeated basis.

The report has revealed how the personal care sector has emerged among the top three violators contributing to 12% of all objectionable advertisements scrutinised by ASCI.

84% of violative ads belonged to the D2C brands, which have a large presence on social and digital platforms.

While personal care has always been among the top ten violating categories, in the past two years, it has risen to the top three on account of high volumes of ads violating ASCI’s guidelines.

The launch of influencer guidelines in May 2021 along with ASCI’s proactive monitoring using AI-based tools has added to the increased number of ads under scrutiny.

The Indian influencer marketing industry, currently valued at about Rs 1,275 crore, representing a 42% increase (over Rs 900 crore) in 2021 is slated to grow at a CAGR of 25% for the next five years to become a Rs 2,800 crore industry by 2026, according to the Influencer Marketing Report 2.0 of GroupM’s INCA. Personal Care is among the top three categories that rely heavily on influencer marketing.

With respect to the personal care sector, in the period 2021-2022 to Q1-Q3 2022-2023, ASCI processed complaints against 1,126 advertisements in this sector versus just 347 ads in the previous two years. The sector report has also thrown light on some interesting facts:

There was a 272% rise in the monthly average of ads processed in the last four years, starting from 2019.

5.7% of ads in violation of the ASCI Code were from the personal hygiene category, 30.3% from the skincare category, 24.7% from the cosmetics category, and 19.4% from hair care. 17.5% of ads showcased multiple categories.

84% of violative ads belonged to the D2C brands, which have a large presence on social and digital platforms.

24% of total complaints across categories received at ASCI from consumers, industry and consumer organisations between Q1-Q3 in '22-'22 were for personal care ads.

The platform split for violative ads in personal care was Instagram (55.3%), YouTube (25.9%), Facebook (11.3%) and websites (4.8%).

Manisha Kapoor, CEO and Secretary General, ASCI, said, “Personal care, particularly on digital platforms, is a high engagement space for consumers, and it is important that their interests be protected. Over the past few years, ASCI has constantly strived to update its guidelines to extend consumer protection to many emerging sectors and platforms. This, coupled with our AI-based digital monitoring is making a real impact in being able to identify violations and drive compliance. We are glad that we could get in early, formulate appropriate guidelines and work towards making the online space safe for consumers.”

The other top two violators mentioned in the report were Education (26%) and Healthcare (15%).