Google, Facebook to strengthen Advertising Standards Council of India board


Aditya Swamy, Director of Google India joins the board and Sandeep Bhushan, Head of India Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook, will be a special invitee to the board of The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). As ASCI shapes the narrative of Indian advertising in a post-COVID world, representation from two of the world’s largest digital companies on its top decision-making body is a landmark step.

The wealth of experience and insights Swamy and Bhushan bring to the table will not only help the self-regulator formulate better policies and guidelines for the advertising industry, it will also enable a better understanding of new challenges and their solutions. As ASCI works to ensure the protection of consumer interests, along with those of other stakeholders like brands and agencies, having Google and Facebook on the board will help it to sharpen its ability to implement its guidelines as well.

Google and Facebook are synonymous with the internet. They are the two most powerful and influential digital platforms that shape our lives each day across a spectrum of fields, from business and political to social. The two internet giants connect the remotest corners of the globe and are the leading advertising delivery platforms too.

As the digital advertising space is rapidly expanding around the globe, India especially shows a lot of promise. According to Dentsu’s Ad Spend Report from June 2021, the digital ad spend in India has grown from 20 per cent in 2019 to 29.4 per cent in 2021. And while television remains the most popular medium for advertising, its growth was only 7.7 per cent, which goes to show that the digital advertising ad spend is fast catching up with TV. ASCI’s ‘Trust in Advertising’ report revealed that it is not just the metro cities who are viewing digital ads. The viewership of digital ads in rural centres, too, was found to be at par with the metros.

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Subhash Kamath, Chairman, ASCI, said: “‘I’m delighted to welcome both Aditya and Sandeep to the board, this is a landmark moment. As we strengthen our roots in the digital space and streamline its functioning, it is extremely important that we collaborate with and learn from the leaders. Google and Facebook are the biggest digital players. We look forward to them helping us become a better conscience keeper of the industry.”

Manisha Kapoor, Secretary-General, ASCI, said: “Having Google and Facebook on our board is a great start to the new journey ASCI is embarking upon. It is vital for us to have a keen understanding of digital operations. We will benefit greatly from the expertise that both these companies bring with them.”

Swamy and Bhushan’s appointments strengthen ASCI’s refreshed vision for the future, which reflects in the recent launch of its new logo. The appointments also mark ASCI’s fast-widening focus on digital advertising and platforms, which began last year with a partnership with TAM to monitor 3,000 digital platforms for misleading marketing claims, as well as the launch of the Influencer guidelines and influencer monitoring through an AI platform.

As advertisers’ focus shifts from traditional media to digital spaces, ASCI is ensuring that its stays ahead of the curve and streamlines the shift.