In the days of new-age technology, advertisements have become a powerful source of authority on both society and the people.
From television commercials to social media stages, companies use numerous tunnels to promote the marketing of their products and services that, in turn, commands a direct or indirect influence on the lives of their customers.
As a rippling effect, many businesses are increasingly using various channels to advertise and promote products that are prohibited by the law.
From bottled water to drinks, and music CDs, many liquor/tobacco brands, use other commodities to widen their brand image. And to promote another product of the same brand.
Merriam Webster describes a Surrogate as a 'substitute'. And the surrogate ads are that. To support another product of the same name, a surrogate advertisement, can be labeled as an advertisement that counterfeits the brand image of one ware.
A surrogate or substitute may either imitate the original product or maybe an entirely diverse product, but it is sold under the primary product's existing brand name. Substitute ads are used, to defend and market brand goods when it is not expedient to advertise the original product in mass media.
In our country, liquor advertising has always been a touchy topic. Tobacco and liquor could also be openly advertised, until the 1990s. Then both categories clamped down on the government. At first, the Arcades machines were labeled by promoters like candies or soft drink companies. The time came very soon when the arcade became an attraction and a joyful place for PUBS and Bars.
As time flows, the companies started to notices that the selling increases with alcoholic substances. Hence, the company started targeting the Bars and PUBs to sell their product and offering them arcades as the gift of the token. And this was a business point of view.
The Cable Television Networks Act and Rules
The Dark Era hit the market for Advisers in late 1995. The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act began in 1995. Under Rule 7(2)(viii) prohibited the direct or indirect promotion and advertising of 'cigarettes, tobacco products, wine, beer, liquor or other intoxicants' where unique colors and layout or presentations associated with the prohibited products were not to be used in the advertisements.
At first, it seemed like a colossal loss, but with time, they realize the loophole of the system, and now instead of labeling Arcades and bribing the PUBS, they started to enter directly into the gaming companies by sponsoring them. The idea becomes fruitful for the companies, and even this trick is been used nowadays too.
It's pouring on the IPL liquor ads. Only freely. Brazenly. Flagrantly. And it seems no one is concerned. Not the administration. Not ASCI, not the broadcasting company. In general, neither does civil society. Royal Challenge, Royal Stag, Black & White, Signature, and Chivas Regal commercials are available on television. For sure, all liquor advertisements, but masquerading as entirely different, usually non-existent items.
Viewing The Royal Challenge First
India's cricket captain Virat Kohli endorses the Royal Challenge "sports drink" amid all his holier-than-thou positioning versus Pepsi. I wanted to buy a drink from my local grocer, it wasn't available. I went to the nearest supermarket. It wasn't available. I also went online to buy it, and it wasn't available.
The irony of the matter is that the only beverage available from the Royal Challenge is tipsy, not sporty. Sure, maybe it must exist somewhere, but Royal Challenge sports drink is not a mass commodity justifying ads on the IPL were a whopping Rs. 9.5 lakhs per 10 seconds costs every 10 seconds ad-spot. Consequently, Virat Kohli endorses almost a ghost commodity as a surrogate for a liquor brand that 'passes off'.
Memes To Understand the Surrogacy Better
Memes are the best way to understand how Surrogacy Ads work.
Why Do Companies Use Surrogate Advertising?
Surrogate advertising has become a successful marketing strategy, frequently used for promoting banned products indirectly.
Therefore, given here is a list of 5 reasons why companies use surrogate advertising to promote their products-
· To elude a ban on the direct advertisements of a distinct product
· To keep brands existing in the minds of the customers
· To encourage an image of social accountability of the brand
· To advertise less socially affirmed products via secondary brands or products
· To advertise bizarrely revenue-generating products like cigarettes, alcohol, and tobacco.
Measures To Tackle Surrogate Ads
1. Making unquestionable open legislation prohibiting surrogate ads under a common brand name for various items.
2. Conducting programmers of market understanding to help individuals grasp the veto effects of surrogate marketing.
3. Providing more power to the Council of India's Advertising Standards to enable it to take action against false and deceptive ads and keep a close eye on clever violation of the rule, rather than only issuing notices.
4. Establishing a system to enforce international and national legislation effectively.
5. Several NGOs like HRIDAY (dissemination of health-related information among youth), SHAN (Student Health Action Network), etc., led campaigns calling for a comprehensive ban on tobacco ads from the government.
It is crucial to recognize the role of NGOs in combating the danger of proxy ads and give them more authority to work on such issues.
Surrogate advertising has turned out to be a lucky tactic to advertise products. Therefore, to counter such situations from arising, governments in many countries are making an effort to impose a ban on such products’ direct marketing. For example, the Indian government has implemented the cable TV regulation act of 1995 to force a ban on the loud advertising of liquor and cigarette advertisement.
Although liquor and tobacco industries are restricted, through laws, they continue to legally help in generating massive revenue for governments, which serves the country’s economy.
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