The Financial Express

Laws for controlling misleading advertisement

| Updated: March 19, 2022 21:42:57

Laws for controlling misleading advertisement

Attractive and catchy advertisements always have been an interesting and effective means to positioning a product or service in consumes' mind.

Great content and up-to-date ideas are helping brands to come up with something trendy and coping with different generations at different times.

There are lots of advertisements that just hit right on the neurons of consumers' brain and imprint an image of it on their minds. Buying that product in response is not necessary as the consumers' black box plays an important role in the purchasing decision. But reacting in the way the brand wants is something worthwhile.

To make advertisements more interesting, an admixture of advertisement and entertainment is quite common nowadays. Billboards, social media marketing, augmented marketing, television commercials etc., dominate the concept of entertainment these days. Promotion of the products is successful if consumers can feel excited about and interest in those.

However, some brands take the elements of entertainment much too far! Using funny or dramatic content and making something that is beyond reality are two different things. We can obviously use fantasy as an advertising tool but we cannot portray something that is not compatible with the product's actual quality.

If we dig through for examples, we will find a host of exaggerated ads. Consuming an energy drink and gaining the energy of hitting something straight out of the earth is not possible. But brands are showing this as something funny. Another example is, consuming a drink and confessing the truth. This is hilarious! If all of the claims are true, then why aren't the security branches using this to make the accused confess the truth?

We know, these things are for entertainment purposes but what we are not aware of is that providing misleading information is not justified on ethical grounds. In 2014 Red Bull was sued for its slogan "Red Bull gives you wings". The company had to pay out around $13 million that included $10 to every US consumer who had bought the drink since 2002. Kellogg also faced such consequences back in 2013 while claiming "Mini-Wheats can make you smarter" which is not true.

There are a lot of legal provisions around the globe to eliminate such confusing and incompatible contents in advertisements. But sadly, Bangladesh has none.

We do have an act called "The Indecent Advertising Prohibition Act, 1963". Under this act, the penalties are:

(a) no person shall take any part in the publication of any advertisement which is indecent;

(b) no person having the ownership, possession or control of any property or public place shall knowingly allow any advertisement which is indecent to be displayed on such property or place, or to be announced therefrom.

But this act is not of any use for protecting exaggerated and make-believe consumerism. There should be some specific acts to discourage brands and advertising agencies from creating and publishing such contents in the name of entertainment.

Rightly framed, the acts will help consumers to make better purchasing decisions as well as help brands maintain more transparency while communicating the product value through advertisement.


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