Layer’r shot ad: (ASCI) invokes Suspended Pending Investigation

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For the uninitiated, Layer’r Shot released a triggering, unethical, insensitive, and gender-biased campaign. Social media users expressed shock and disappointment at the offensive shot ad

On the morning of the 3rd of June 2022, The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) was alerted to an advertisement of a deodorant product, which was potentially in serious violation of Chapter II of the ASCI Code against offensive advertising.

After seeing the ad, ASCI immediately invoked a special process called “Suspended Pending Investigation” (SPI). In most cases, ASCI provides an opportunity for the advertiser to put forth their arguments before a recommendation is provided on the ad. However, in exceptional circumstances, when it appears prima facie that an advertisement is in serious breach of the ASCI Code and its continued transmission can cause public harm or its continuation is against the public interest, then ASCI would, pending investigation direct the advertiser / the advertising agency / the media buying agency and the media concerned to suspend the advertisement. 

The Consumer Complaints Council shall adjudicate whether or not the advertisement is in breach of the Code and pass appropriate order accordingly, after giving a reasonable opportunity of hearing to the advertiser whose advertisement has been suspended.

The said ad is in potential violation of ASCI’s chapter II, which states that advertisements should contain nothing indecent, vulgar, especially in the depiction of women, or nothing repulsive which is likely, in the light of generally prevailing standards of decency and propriety, to cause grave and widespread offense.

In this specific case, ASCI wrote to the advertiser on June 3rd, informing them of the decision to suspend the advertising, and invited the advertiser’s response which would be tabled before the Consumer Complaints Council in the coming days.

ASCI has received confirmation that the channel that originally aired the ad has already pulled it down. ASCI also notes that the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has intervened to ensure that the ad is also pulled down from social media channels

The turn of events also raises the question of whether broadcasters should have allowed the airing of this shot ad in the first place

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