Advertising industry self-regulator Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has released its final guidelines for the advertising of skin lightening and fairness products following industry and public feedback to a draft it had issued earlier.
This, industry observers believe, could go a long way in correcting the communication issued by makers of a growing number of fairness products.
Commenting on the new guidelines, Partha Rakshit, chairman, ASCI, said, "Setting up these new guidelines for the skin lightening and fairness products will help advertisers comply with the ASCI code which states that advertisements should not deride any race, caste, colour, creed or nationality." Given how widespread the advertising for fairness and skin lightening products is and the concerns of different stakeholders in society, ASCI saw the need to set up specific guidelines for this product category, he said.
"As a self-regulating body, it is important to have the advertisers' buy in to the guidelines, and we are happy to note that both the industry and the consumer activists' groups have welcomed these guidelines," he said.
The following guidelines will be used when creating and assessing advertisements in this category:
Advertising should not communicate any discrimination as a result of skin colour. These ads should not reinforce negative social stereotyping on the basis of skin colour. Specifically, advertising should not directly or implicitly show people with darker skin, in a way which is widely seen as, unattractive, unhappy, depressed or concerned.
These ads should not portray people with darker skin, in a way which is widely seen as, at a disadvantage of any kind, or inferior, or unsuccessful in any aspect of life particularly in relation to being attractive to the opposite sex, matrimony, job placement, promotions and other prospects.
In the pre-usage depiction of product, special care should be taken to ensure that the expression of the model/s in the real and graphical representation should not be negative in a way which is widely seen as unattractive, unhappy, depressed or concerned.
Advertising should not associate darker or lighter colour skin with any particular socioeconomic strata, caste, community, religion, profession or ethnicity.
Advertising should not perpetuate gender based discrimination because of skin colour.
—In arrangement with MxMIndia.com