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Surrogate Advertising

GS Paper 4

Syllabus: Application of Ethics- Media



Direction: It was already covered a few weeks back. This is in continuation of the previous article- Regulating misleading advertisements.


Context: Centre has directed advertising agencies to ensure strict compliance with the guidelines on surrogate advertisements.


Observation of the Centre: It has been observed that many alcoholic spirits and beverages are being advertised under the garb of music CDs, club soda and packaged drinking water whereas chewing tobacco and gutkha has taken the veil of fennel and cardamom,

Surrogate advertising is a form of advertising which is used to promote regulated products, like cigarettes and alcohol, in the disguise of another product.

      • In India, tobacco products and alcohol cannot be advertised openly under laws like the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, which bans all kinds of direct and indirect advertisements of tobacco products. To circumvent them, surrogate advertising is done.


The Central Consumer Protection Authority has come up with the Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022.

      • This also bans surrogates.
      • Penalty: It prescribes monetary penalties to the tune of Rs 10 lakh for the first offence, which can go up to Rs 50 lakh for subsequent offences,and imprisonment of up to two years under Section 89 of the Act.

surrogate advertisementThe negative impact of surrogate advertisement: It violates the right to be informed (of negative effects), and the right to be safeguarded against potentially unsafe products.

Central Consumer Protection Authority:

It is a regulatory body established in 2020 based on the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, of 2019 and works under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.