Advertisements show exaggerations which are not all related to the products which they sell. They are means of attracting consumers through the stories they show. Should we believe these promising ads? Worst is the case of products like liquor and tobacco since they are not allowed to be advertised. Not only this, nowadays, they have banned liquor scenes in movies in order to discourage alcoholism. The distributors initially agreed, however, later informed the governing organization that such bans should be implemented at the individual levels.
In order to make up with this, the producers get involved in surrogate advertisements i.e. indirect advertisements of their products. For example, Kingfisher gives the advertisement of Kingfisher soda and gutkha producers give ads of pan masala. In this case, the producers advertise the supplements or substitute of the main products. They make these advertisements on a large scale by involving the film actors, example Akshay Kumar for Bagpiper Club Soda. One more instance of surrogate ads is Four Square Bravery awards which is sponsored by the Four Square cigarettes. Advertisements create significant influence among youngsters and they indulge in activities like smoking and drinking.
There are two main tactics advertisers make use of while selling their products: one way is to show that their product will bring achievement of a particular good or make the product an object of desire. One more trick is the repetition of advertisements. Many ads are repeated continuously between the television programs to create an impact on the consumers. Movies also affect public to the most extent. For example, many fans of Rajnikant started following his smoking style by watching the movies and this was one reason for a lot of them to start smoking. Parag Paul Choudhury of Voluntary Organization in Interest of Consumer Education (VOICE), a Delhi based NGO, also agrees with this point.
Parag speaks about the shift in target of the advertising industry. During the 60s and 70s, the target was housewives, but nowadays the main target is children and also women to some extent. He says that children are seen in advertisements which are not at all child products. Also he adds that today many parents are taking their children for shopping and also involve them in decisions for buying products which are not child products. Even children need consumer awareness among them and this awareness needs to be cultured by including it in their school syllabus itself. This would inculcate a responsibility to them and would help them in future to make their lives better.
A governing board called the Advertising Standard Council of India has set rules and regulations for the advertising agencies so as set a limit of the ads and which is acceptable to public and beneficial to them. According to Parag advertisements and consumer rights are very much related. He stresses on the fact that consumers have the right to know about the product i.e. how it is manufactured and delivered to them. Also they have the right for consumer protection i.e. they have the right to get the quality products without adulteration or false products. The Indian law has got the rights of the consumers documented and recognized internationally.
The main activity of VOICE is product testing which involves educating the consumers regarding the product. Every month nearly 10 brands are tested. Parag reveals that the products which are most advertised fails in the test and products which are less advertised pass the test. This shows how divertive the advertisements are and cheat the consumers by eye washing them. For example, in the latest test for ceiling fans, Usha and Bajaj turned out to be worst however Havell and Orient were the best.
Consumerdaddy is a website which provides information on the product reviews about the products in the market. It shows the genuine public opinions about the products and are unbiased to any company on that matter. This website also provides information on the Consumer Protection act, consumer rights and consumer awareness. Such websites help in educating the public about consumer rights and give them consumer awareness so that they are warned beforehand.