CCP takes notice of beverage ads lacking disclaimers

Dangerous stunts without advising viewers not to attempt similar stunts independently, seen as potential violation of the Competition Act

ISLAMABAD: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has taken notice of dangerous stunts performed in the TV commercials (TVCs) of leading beverage manufacturers.

These stunts promote soft and energy drinks without advising viewers not to attempt similar stunts independently, as they are performed by professionals under proper safety arrangements and are fictional displays.

The Commission has issued letters to various beverage firms, requesting them to explain their position regarding the showcasing of physical stunts with bikes, cars, and other extraordinary performances enabled by or for a few sips of the advertised drinks.

While screening such stunts is not a violation of Pakistan’s Competition Law, the absence of proper disclaimers advising viewers to avoid attempting such stunts amounts to withholding material information from consumers, especially young adults. 

The CCP has warned these companies of their potential violation of Section 10(2)(b) of the Competition Act, 2010. This section prohibits the dissemination of false or misleading information to consumers. The non-disclosure of material information or relevant disclaimers also amounts to deceptive marketing practices and constitutes a violation of this section.

The Commission has explained that ‘misleading information’ refers to statements that can give a wrong impression, lead to errors in conduct, thought, or judgment, misinform due to vagueness or omission, and may not necessarily be deliberate. It further clarified that ‘false information’ includes statements that are contrary to truth or fact, imply conscious wrongdoing or culpable negligence, have stricter and stronger connotations, and are not readily open to interpretation.

The CCP has directed the companies to explain their non-compliance with the explicit provisions of Section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010, regarding the subject of TV commercials. The companies are required to furnish their explanations within seven days of the issuance of the Commission’s letters.

Ghulam Abbas
Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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