Brand enforcement: the use of the Advertising Standards Council of India as an effective tool


Essenese Obhan and Shalika Bhalla

Indian advertising is booming, and regulation needs to keep pace. Essenese Obhan and Shalika Bhalla explain

"Unable to attract even a single girl, frustrated man sues Axe,” shouted headlines. The allegation was that a man had failed to attract any girl despite using Axe products for more than seven years, even though the Axe advertisement suggested that the product helps men to instantly attract women. Though it was mistaken for a genuine news report across the world, this was in fact a satirical report that seemingly stemmed from a multitude of controversies surrounding the Axe ads, reported on, an Indian website.

Nevertheless, this highlights a serious concern in the Indian market. The proliferation of brands, immense choice and increased competition have led to an overabundance of advertisements. Th e advertising industry grew by 20 percent in 2010 compared to 8 percent in 2009, leading to aggressive advertisers pushing the advertisement regulation barriers.

In 1985, keeping pace with worldwide practices, Indian marketing and advertising professionals set up the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) to self-regulate the content of advertisements. The council’s main objective is to promote responsible advertising to enhance the public’s confidence.

India, ASCI, Axe, advertising