Traders’ body CAIT today urged the government to formulate a specified code of conduct for corporates with regard to misleading advertisements and have a harsh penal action for “irresponsible” celebrity endorsements. In a letter to Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said the Code of Conduct should have stringent penal provisions against misleading information and advertisements by corporate entities as also harsh penal deterrence against celebrities who abdicate their responsibility to society and propagate misleading information and falsehoods.
Citing the example of recent Manforce Condoms’ advertisement, it said, “The recent advertisement by film star Sunny Leone is a hoarding where a condom manufacturing company has tried to ride piggyback on the festive sentiment of Navratri to sell its product.”
“What is offensive about the advertisement is that it brazenly uses double meanings and innuendos with commercial gains in mind, completely disregarding any sensitivity to the social and cultural fabric without caring for the consequences of such an action on impressionable young minds and at a time when religious fervour is at a high,” CAIT said in the letter.
It also cited the examples of celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan and Madhuri Dixit claiming they had courted controversy over seemingly misleading endorsements, with the Maggi crisis perhaps being the most debated controversy relating to celebrity endorsements.
It said the larger question which needs to be answered is why are companies and celebrities who resort to titillating and misleading information allowed to get away with impunity.
“Should there not be any law/guidelines or at least a legal framework which could make them accountable for their actions,” the traders’ body argued.