The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has been awarded Gold at the European Advertising Standards Alliance’s (EASA) 2014 Best Practice Awards, for significantly reducing the average time it takes to handle complaints.

The ASCI put in place actions to substantially reduce the journey time of complaints – from their first point of contact with the Secretariat, through the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) and on to the transmission of the final decision to the advertiser and complainant.

ASCI’s actions included the introduction of their Online Complaint and Monitoring Service (OCMS), which enables consumers to efficiently record their complaint, as well as receive progress updates online or via SMS; introduction of ‘suspension pending investigation’ for extremely objectionable ads; an increase in number of CCC members and making sure that the CCC meets on a weekly basis.

ASCI’s Chairman, Mr Partha Rakshit said, “ASCI is thrilled to have won the prestigious Gold Medal at the 2014 BPAs. Last year we won the EASA Silver Medal for the National Advertising Monitoring Service (NAMS) initiative which started tracking most of the print and TV ads in India. That award spurred us to focus on improving ASCI’s effectiveness and credibility as a SRO delivering speedier redress of complaints and higher compliance of its decisions, which has got the Gold this year. Various Government departments now recognise and support our self-regulatory work by including ASCI's code and representation in the rules and committee to regulate advertising content respectively. We are very grateful to EASA for recognizing our work and for advice & encouragement they, along with the WFA, provide to ASCI."

Once again the standard of submissions to EASA’s Best Practice Awards was impressive. Interestingly, this year saw a strong emphasis on cutting costs and improving the efficiency of SRO’s services to consumers and the ad industry alike

Silver awards were presented to the UK’s ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) and Clearcast. Both SROs put in place measures to make their advice and guidance on compliance even more accessible for industry. The ASA successfully increased the number of industry ‘touch points’ whilst Clearcast developed Clearcast Plus, a seamless suite of services for agencies and advertisers.

The French SRO, ARPP (Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité), received Bronze for an awareness raising campaign aimed at encouraging industry professionals to “Think Out of the Box but Stay in the Frame” of self-regulatory rules.
 
The 2014 Best Practice Awards took place in Amsterdam during EASA’s biannual meetings. This year’s judging panel was made up of Helen Day (European Sponsorship Association - ESA), Giles Horton (Clear Channel International – on behalf of FEPE International), Ionel Naftanaila (IAB Europe), Stéphanie Verilhac (SIINDA - Search and Information Industry Association) and Oliver Gray, EASA’s Director General.

Oliver Gray, EASA’s Director General, said “Our Best Practice Awards are a unique opportunity to celebrate the work of our SROs. Each year our SRO members show their dedication and commitment to ensuring that self-regulation is practiced in the most effective and efficient way possible. In 2014 we were delighted yet again by the high quality of the entries we received.

ARPP and ASCI each submitted two other entries (global overhaul of ARPP's information system and improved compliance with decisions respectively). Entries were also submitted by IAP, Italy (awareness raising campaign), CONAR, Mexico (monitoring project targeting misleading ads for 'miracle' products), RAC, Romania (extension of code to cover food supplements), Ro, Sweden (development of online search tool for their decisions). 

For more information please contact jennifer.pearson@easa-alliance.org

About EASA's Best Practice Awards
 
The EASA Best Practice Awards are presented each year the self-regulatory organisations that have most effectively implemented an element of the EASA Best Practice Model – a set of operational standards for advertising standards bodies. The jury is composed of representatives from the advertising industry associations (advertisers, agencies and media) in membership of EASA. 

This is the 11th edition of EASA’s Best Practice Awards. Gold has previously won by UK - Clearcast (2013), Spain (2012), France (2011), UK - ASA (2010), Slovakia (2009), Belgium (2008), Ireland (2007), Netherlands (2006), South Africa (2005) and Turkey (2004). 

The EASA Best Practice Recommendations are intended to provide detailed guidance to SRO and industry members of EASA on how to go about advertising self-regulation. They are designed to stimulate and assist national discussions on the development of self-regulation according to the Best Practice model. The Best Practice Model was put together in 2004 and describes ten component parts of the model self-regulatory systems that EASA wishes to see in place in all existing EU member states and its extended SRO membership. Having such a model helps EASA and its members to evaluate, initiate and develop effective and efficient systems across a wider Europe. It also allows the identification of areas where investment is needed to develop existing national arrangements in order to improve the provision and operation of self-regulation

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