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Ban Surrogate Advertising now
Liquor Product Advertising has been Banned; but Surrogate Advertising, often with The Use of Popular Celebrities, defeats The Purpose
Issue Date - 21/07/2011
In India, just about every law comes with its own set of loopholes. The case of the ban on advertisements of liquor and tobacco products is no different. Surrogate advertising, the loophole in this case, is a welcome crutch for these brands, as they are not otherwise allowed to advertise their products directly.

Indian cricket team captain M. S. Dhoni promotes McDowell’s Soda, Ajay Devgan endorses Bagpiper Soda, Saif Ali Khan endorses Royal Stag Mega Music and the list goes on. Seagram (Royal Stag Mega Music & Mega Cricket), McDowells (soda), Kingfisher (soda & water), Hayward’s 5000 (soda & packaged drinking water), White Mischief (holiday packages), Imperial Blue (cassettes & music CDs), Royal Challenge (music CDs), Bacardi (cassettes & CDs), SmirnOff (cassettes & CDs) are some primes examples of surrogate products.

Godfrey Philips – manufacturers of Red & White – gives “Red & White Bravery awards” for social initiative. Wills Lifestyle does a great surrogate job for Wills in a sense and Gold Flake has ‘Gold Flake Expressions’ greeting cards.

Evidently, it is ridiculous to simply ban the product advertisements and leave go of surrogates to do whatever they wish. The government should immediately ban advertisements of products and services that purport to sell brands that are like-named as tobacco or liquor brands. Does that mean that Kingfisher Airlines should not be allowed to advertise? Of course, yes. Or else, they should change the name of their airlines brand. The very reason a company expands its brand beyond a product category is to ensure that the brand’s promotional campaigns advantage all product categories – Kingfisher a key example. And unfortunately, unless the government slams down on this backdoor entry of liquor and tobacco products into impressionable minds, Naomi Klein can take a walk.



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