The Allahabad High court has ordered the Uttar Pradesh government and its Excise Department to enforce the ban on surrogate advertisement of liquor on TV and in cinema halls, newspapers and other mass media.
A surrogate advertisement is an advertisement that duplicates the brand image of one product to promote another product of the same brand. In India, Surrogate Advertisements are done mainly in the tobacco and liquor industry after the Indian government banned direct and indirect advertisements of alcohol and tobacco through mass media.
The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 clearly prohibits the direct or indirect promotion and advertisement of “cigarettes, tobacco products, wine, alcohol, liquor or other intoxicants”. However, the law provided certain exceptions which paved way for surrogate advertisements. The law had allowed advertisements of a product that uses a brand name or logo same as used for tobacco/ alcohol products.
In 2008, the Government issued a notification banning surrogate advertising of liquor companies in print, electronic and outdoor media. However, in 2009, I&B Ministry issued a notification amending the said Rule to allow advertisements of products which shared a brand name or logo with any tobacco or liquor product. However, it stated that no reference direct or indirect could be made to the prohibited products in any form.