Surrogate advertising is a type of advertising that is utilized to endorse prohibited goods indirectly, such as cigarettes, pan masalas and alcohol, in the camouflage of another produce mostly in the audio-visual and print media.
In most cases, surrogate advertisements are in the form of music CD, sports gear, year book, mineral water, soda and even fruit juice manufactured by popular alcohol or cigarette makers.
This is done owing to various reasons. The main reason is to dodge the prohibition on advertising for a particular kind of product. For instance advertising for alcoholic beverages and cigarettes are barred in India.
Surrogate advertising might also be used to promote products where their use is associated with a service. In these cases, the service is widely publicized, and the service providers use only the product that is under question.
Some of the popular surrogate advertisements in India are – Seagram music CD, McDowell’s mineral water and club soda, Bagpiper music CD, soda and mineral water, apple Juice manufactured by Smirnoff and Aristocrat, mineral water and calendars by Kingfisher and sports gear, garments and accessories by Wills Lifestyle.
Although various social organizations have raised demands from time to time to ban such advertisements, no serious initiative has been taken by any government to prohibit them.