Surrogate Advertising

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SUBMITTED BYAnnika Albuquerque

The concept of Surrogate Advertising1
History of Surrogate Advertising2
Current Scenario2
The sugar coated pill called Surrogate Advertising3
The need of the hour3
As students studying Ethics and Indian Values4

Surrogate Advertising Ethical

Advertising has become a big tool for disseminating product Information. It is being done through different media – banners, radio, television & lately the internet. Advertisement in general has also drawn Public ire & government intervention time and again – either for moving away from truth and the consumers 'right to know' or for creating false images. This is especially true in the case of surrogate advertisements. The issue of surrogate advertisement gained publicity after the government imposed a ban on it. The purpose of this project is to highlight & discuss the same. THE CONCEPT OF SURROGATE ADVERTISING

Even after the ban, liquor companies continued to advertise their drinks in the form of surrogate advertisements. In this type of advertisement, a product other than the banned one is promoted using an already established brand name. Such advertisements or sponsorships help in brand building and contribute to brand recall. The product shown in the advertisement is called the ‘surrogate.’ The surrogate could either resemble the original product or could be a different product altogether, but using the established brand of the original product. The sponsoring of sports/cultural/leisure events and activities using a liquor brand name also falls in the category of surrogate advertising. Essentially it is the advertisement of the items on the negative list, such as tobacco and liquor. The masked creative’s leave it to the consumer to read between the lines. Brand managers call it leveraging on the existing equity of the brand, agencies define it as an exercise in brand recall of products on the negative list, while the government comes down heavily on the intriguing concept of surrogate advertising. With the anti-tobacco lobby going strong worldwide, every country has a negative list of products.

Surrogate advertisements took off not long ago in the UK, where British housewives protested strongly against liquor advertisements "luring" away their husbands. The liquor industry found a way around the ban: Surrogate advertisements for cocktail mixers, fruit juices and soda water using the brand names of the popular liquors. In India, the trend of surrogate advertisement gathered momentum with the Cable TV Network Regulation Act, which prohibits tobacco and liquor advertisements on TV channels. The liquor industry has intentionally blurred the line between products, advertising `old wine' in a `new bottle,' only this time with a soft-drink label.

After the ban imposed on the 12 advertisements identified as surrogates by the Government of India, and the show-cause notices issued to Star TV, Zee TV and Aaj Tak in 2002 under the provisions of the Cable Television Regulation Act of 2002, the whirlwind of surrogate ads hitting the telly has calmed down to a large extent. Advertisers have started diversifying and shifted their focus to other advertising avenues which often stretched the concept of brand extension to previously unheard-of levels. Surrogate advertising though banned is still observed and continued on television, generally seen at places like sports stadiums, art exhibitions in the form of sponsorships of the event. Some of them under close scrutiny of the regulations are McDowell's Mera Number One, Gilbey's Green Label ads, Bagpiper soda water, Kingfisher mineral water, 8PM apple juice, ITC-GTD's (greeting cards division) Expression Greeting Cards, Red & White...
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