New Delhi: The Department of Consumer Affairs has released a set of guidelines called "Endorsements Know-hows!" for celebrities, and influencers on social media platforms, aiming to ensure that individuals do not mislead their audiences when endorsing products or services.
The government wants to ensure that the endorsements are in compliance with the Consumer Protection Act and any associated rules or guidelines. The government said it is essential for celebrities, influencers, and virtual influencers to adhere to these guidelines to maintain transparency and authenticity with their audience.
The guidelines state that endorsements must be made in simple, clear language, and terms such as "advertisement," "sponsored," "collaboration" or "paid promotion" can be used. Individuals must not endorse any product or service that they have not personally used or experienced or in which due diligence has not been done by them.
The department has observed that there is confusion regarding which disclosure word to use for what nature of partnership it is. Against that backdrop, disclosures such as "advertisement," "ad," "sponsored," "collaboration," or "partnership" may be used for paid or barter brand endorsement. However, the term must be indicated as a hashtag or in headline text.
The disclosures must be placed in the endorsement message in a manner that is clear, prominent, and extremely hard to miss. Disclosures should not be mixed with a group of hashtags or links. For endorsements in a picture, disclosures should be superimposed over the image enough for viewers to notice.
For endorsements in a video or a live stream, disclosures should be made in both audio and video format and displayed continuously and prominently during the entire stream.
Also, according to the guidelines, individuals or groups who have access to an audience and the power to affect their audiences' purchasing decisions or opinions about a product or service must be disclosed.