CSR should be used in health and education: I&B Minister Ambika Soni

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NEW DELHI: Even as advertising has grown from Rs 100 billion to Rs 300 billion in the last 20 years, consumers are rewarding those advertising agencies who are doing good for society and fulfilling their corporate social responsibility (CSR), Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said here today.

CSR should be used in a country like India for health and education, she said while inaugurating the 27th AdAsia being held in India after a gap of eight years.

Reiterating that the government is for a free media, she noted that the Advertising Standards Council of India (Asci) is doing a great job in self-regulation as far as advertising was concerned.

At the same time, the government wants to bring in a more robust system for television rating points and is working towards that end.

She said the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) is being revamped to “match up to the private advertising agencies”.

Meanwhile, she said that despite the meltdown in the west, Indian media has continued to grow and there is a boom in the newspaper industry where around 107 billion copies are being sold daily. The number of television channels has reached almost 800 and the number of radio FM channels is expected to go up to 839 after the third phase.

She said the country had also taken concrete steps to be fully digitalised by 31 March 2014.

Referring to the theme of the meet, ‘Uncertainty: the new Certainty’, Soni said “the only certainty is that there will always be uncertainty.”

Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan, who has just achieved a milestone in marketing with the way his film Ra.One has been promoted, said on the occasion that he saw himself in various ways as far as advertising was concerned. He was the consumer who always fell for the dream merchants and the “tricks unveiled on my poor unsuspecting greed”; the brand endorser; the seller of his own films and the causes he endorsed including the Kolkata Knight Riders; and marketing himself as a brand for which he always needed to re-invent himself. Luring attention to himself is a great effort and therefore he believed in the idiom “early to bed and early to rise, work as hell and advertise.”

Khan also unfurled the AdAsia flag, before former Miss India Diana Hayden who was conducting the inaugural ceremony asked him to do a jig on ‘You are my chhamak chhalo’ from Ra.One.

About 1200 delegates from India and 25 other countries are attending the meet, which is featuring around fifty of the world’s top experts in the world of marketing, media and advertising.

Around 18 sessions are being held on various subjects apart from the opening and closing ceremonies. The speakers will include around 45 from overseas.

Speaking earlier, International Advertising Association chief Alan Rutherford said he wanted Asian ad agencies to empower themselves and come up with innovative solutions for their brands, regretting that the industry is not collaborative in Europe.

He said the next meet of IAA will be held in Vienna in September-October next year.

Earlier, Pradeep Guha was honoured with the honorary membership of the International Council of the Asian Federation of Advertising Associations (AFAA). Speaking on the occasion, Guha said the country had undergone a change since 1991 when the economy opened up. “Consumption is the new religion” and the online world of social media is making everyone more aware, he said.

Soni also released the book ‘AdKatha’ on the history of advertising with contributions by 18 writers. Bal Mundkur who is one of the editors and Gerson Da Cunha spoke on the occasion; the latter pointing out that advertising was a $600 billion industry which was more than what Bollywood was making.

The programme commenced with a performance by the 16-member Shillong Chamber Choir which also sang a specially composed AdAsia anthem.

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