Maggi affected prompted CAIT to hold national seminar on brand endorsements

Maggi, maggi noodles, CAIT, Confederation of All India Traders
New Delhi : The recent incident of sub-standard quality of food and misleading labeling of packaging in matter of Maggi noodles has generated a much sought debate on role of Brand Ambassadors in pushing sales of products by their respective endorsements.

A pertinent question has been asked in many quarters whether celebrities appearing in advertisements of various products can be held responsible for their endorsements or not. Taking the issue forward and to generate a logical debate on the issue, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) is holding a Seminar on "Whether or not Brand Ambassadors are responsible for their endorsement" on 30th June,2015 at New Delhi.

CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal informed that the Seminar will be attended by cross section of society. Beside participation of traders, several experts hailing from fields of Consumers,Advertising, Media Professionals, Public Relations, Legal fraternity, taxation, social media, activists, have also been invited to participate in the Seminar.

The CAIT has also sent invitation to The Advertising Standards Council of India which regulates standards in advertising and Film Federation of India, apex body film fraternity in India. The seminar will be presided by CAIT National President B. C. Bhartia.

A definition for endorsement includes ​​a​n endorsement means any advertising message including verbal statements, demonstrations, or depictions of the name, signature, likeness or other identifying personal characteristics of an individual that consumers are likely to believe reflects the opinions, beliefs, findings, or experiences of a party.

Khandelwal said that Brand Ambassadors are playing a major role in influencing the choice of consumers in selection of products because of their celebrated persona. Most often, the consumers are tend to make a believe on the good claims made by a celebrity in a particular advertisement. It is a matter of common knowledge that endorsements are made predominantly with an aim to boost the sales prospects of a product.

The celebrities engaged in any advertisement are fully aware of the fact that their services are being used for commercial purposes and as such they render services judiciously and after considering all facts, against a specific consideration which occurs generally under a contract.

There is no element of charity involved in endorsements and the Brand Ambassadors are doing endorsements knowingly, the pertinent question arises whether they can be held responsible for their endorsements or not. Presumably, they must also be complying concerned taxation laws applicable for rendering services and if so whether or not they are integral part of sales structure of the product for which they have executed endorsement.

The absence of a specified law or a policy for endorsements is yet another factor which assumes significance .Since it has vital bearing on consumers there is a need of reasonable prudence and responsible conduct of the Brand Ambassador to avoid misleading and deceptive endorsements and as such framing of policy and guidelines.

The seminar will also deliberate on the need of framing of a policy by the Government for endorsements in Advertisements-said B.C.Bhartia, CAIT National President.

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