Surrogate liquor, cigarette ads to be banned soon?March 7th, 2008 - 10:47 am ICT by admin
New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) Surrogate liquor and cigarette ads may be on their way out in India. Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss, who has taken up cudgels against tobacco and alcohol, said Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi has given him a verbal assurance that all such ads would be “stopped”.
“We met recently and we discussed the matter of surrogate advertisements by liquor brands. He gave me an oral assurance that all this would be stopped soon,” Ramadoss told IANS.
The information and broadcasting minister has taken cognisance and initiated action, he said. Liquor and tobacco ads are banned in the print and electronic Indian media, but most companies try to circumvent this rule through surrogate ads.
Ramadoss in his Feb 21 letter has requested Dasmunsi to “take appropriate action to ensure that such indirect advertisements of wine, alcohol, liquor and any tobacco products are stopped forthwith in the interest of public health.”
Though Ramadoss has not received any “written reply” to his letter, he hopes the ads will soon be a thing of the past.
In his letter, the minister named advertisements by Bagpiper, McDowell’s, Johnny Walker, Haywards, Derby, Royal Challenge, Kingfisher - for sodas, cassettes, CDs, golf accessories and mineral water - saying “these products bear exactly the same brand name and logo, which were earlier seen in liquor advertisements”.
“Some of the soda products which are advertised now very much resemble the original liquor products. This brand extension is an act of bypassing the advertisement ban,” he said in his letter.
Surrogate advertisements violate the statutory provisions and defeat the very purpose of the ban imposed by the government on such products, he added.
The letter said such direct or indirect advertisements had a great impact on promoting the consumption of a product among the population, particularly youth.
“Considering the ill effects of cigarette and other tobacco products, wine, alcohol, liquor or other intoxicant, the government has banned advertisements of the products in the media,” he said.
“They (the companies) have found an alternative path of advertising of products (for which advertising is banned) through which they keep on reminding consumers of the liquor brands,” Ramadoss said.
The liquor industry is a prominent player in the game of surrogates, he said.
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