Celebrity, Advertiser liable for misleading advertisements… What about product Manufacturer?

Punishing a celebrity for a misleading product seems a remote logic right? No. As the Central Consumer Protection Council (CCPC), under the chairmanship of minister K V Thomas, on Monday decided to set up a sub-committee to suggest strategies to deal with misleading advertisers. The committee wants to make advertisers liable for misleading the consumers, as it thinks that it uses celebrities to peddle inferior products. But the most interesting thing the committee is mulling is making the celebrities pay compensation in case there is a complaint.

Thus if, Salman Khan or Shahrukh Khan in a TV Commercial or print ad days that a car is safe, he better be careful. More so if he tells young men that putting a certain skin whitening cream will make all men in India fair skinned. That’s even if the product doesn’t perform as promised, the celebrity can be penalized, with fine or future ban (to do such commercials). That’s the consumer can file a compensation not only from the advertisers, but from the celebrities endorsing the product.

Although, half of the time of the daylong conference of the said committee was spent addressing … the huge impact of misleading advertisements, on edible and applied on body products, there was much intent to somehow bring the celebrities into the ambit of punishment.

If the things go as planned (by the committee), then tell you all the film stars and celebrities doing advertisements will have to run parallel sophisticated laboratories to get the product tested.

But there’s one good for them after the recent conference, the celebrities of such advertisements will not have to face a 5-year jail term. Earlier, even this being mulled over.

Where is the Company or the producer of sub-standard products?

Those who have been to college or to school will easily relate to this analogy. When a group of students is assigned to prepare a Play (Drama) for the upcoming cultural event, those who don’t want the play to happen (either because of stage fright or some other reason) try to derail all the team by putting unrealistic and too difficult suggestion.

Reading about this conference, made me feel like that.

You tell, what is the best way to stop misleading advertisements on TV and Print?

Yes, the best way is for the Government to ensure that quality products reach the market. To accomplish that the Government must create quality control laboratories. If for some reasons sub-standard products manage to reach market or TV channels or print media, then the quality tests must be conducted again and quickly; and if the product is found not conforming to what it’s promising, then penalizing the company and ensuring that the harmed consumers are adequately compensated.

Penalizing the Advertisers and celebrities is nothing but removing the burden of false promise and sub-standard product from the product manufacturer.

Ideally, if consumer is harmed by bad product or is duped by misleading advertisements, then the product manufacturer has to bear all the burden of the crime. Going for the advertiser or the celebrity is just like going after the messenger pigeon who’s simply brought the message for someone from somebody, for some grains.

Note that, in the countries (which we often compare ourselves to), a class action against a bad product, either on promise or quality or its effects on health, go squarely on the Product manufacturer. Many big companies there even have to file for bankruptcy, because of such actions.

A food for thought: Now, if Jio fails, would you sue Shah Rukh Khan?

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