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Celebrities in our country are trendsetters and generally, young generation follows the celebrities and this is the reason that the advertisers also engage celebrities for advertising their goods and services. Sometimes this goes wrong for celebrities. Remember the time when Madhuri Dixit was blamed for featuring in the Ad of Maggie after it was found that Maggie contains lead.
The Union Cabinet has recently proposed a bill on Consumer Protection Bill, 2017 which will be up for discussion before the Lok Sabha in the current winter session. The most interesting aspect of the bill is a ban on misleading ads. The bill provides ban as well as fine on celebrities. The bill states that if the celebrities are found in the misleading ads they will be fined with Rs 10 lakh with a ban of a year on doing endorsements for the first time. However, on subsequently doing of misleading ad the fine will be Rs 50 lakh with a ban of three years.
The liability of celebrities has been introduced in the bill because people see them as their role models and follow them and by the products, they are advertising on a belief that if their favorite celebrity is endorsing the product then it will be good.
However, the bill provides liability at three stages. First is liability for appearance. The bill proposes that even if the celebrity only appears in a misleading ad by way of lending his face, voice or image then he will be liable. The supporters of this provision have stated that celebrities are influential persons and they should be careful while choosing the ads they want to be a part of.
Second is the liability for celebrity endorsements. This provision of the bill provides that the celebrities will be liable for their involvement and not their association with the misleading ad. This means that for instance if an advertisement is of fairness cream and the endorser say that it will change the skin tone of the customer in seven days then he can be held liable for no changes in the skin tone and not for the color of cream is different than shown in the advertisement.
The third is endorser’s liability for defects. However, this provision of liability has been criticized by various persons on the ground that the celebrity cannot control the manufacturing process of a product thus cannot be held liable for manufacturing defects. Hence, if Amarpali fails to deliver its project on time then MS Dhoni cannot be held liable but if Bipasha Basu can be held liable if the claim of hers in the ad Reebok easy tone shoes that it can tone the calf muscles by 11 percent is found to be false.
However, there is a debate going on that whether celebrity should be held liable for the misleading ads or not.