In May 2014, the Advertising Standard Council of India’s (ASCI) Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 121 out of 140 advertisements. Health & Personal Care category continued to lead with the highest number of complaints received in May 2014.
Health & Personal Care
The CCC found claims in health and personal care product or service ads of 66 advertisers, released in print media/ TVC to be either misleading or false or not adequately/ scientifically substantiated and hence, violating ASCI’s Code. Some of the health care products or services ads also contravened provisions of the Drug & Magic Remedies Act. Complaints were upheld against ads of Dabur India’s Odomos Naturals, Reckitt Benckiser’s Dettol soap, Marico’s Nihar Naturals Shanti Amla Hair Oil, HUL’s Fair & Lovely, Heinz India’s Complan, L'Oreal India’s Garnier Fructis Long & Strong, Emami Fair and Handsome Cream & Face Wash, and Bajaj Nomarks, among others.
Dabur India’s Odomos Naturals ad claims that the cream provides all day protection from mosquitoes to children, which was found to be misleading by omission as it does not provide clear instruction of the level of application and period for reapplication.
Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare’s Dettol Soap ad’s claim that ‘Only Dettol gives 10x more protection against germs’ was misleading as the advertiser’s product with germicidal actives was compared against products without germicidal actives. Dettol being the “only” effective product was not substantiated by comparison with other products in the market with germicidal actives.
Marico’s ad for Nihar Naturals Shanti Amla Hair Oil claiming that it is enriched with 500% vitamin E was misleading as the comparison was being made with a product marketed in 2010.
The TVC of Hindustan Unilever’s Fair & Lovely suggests that fairness is essential for a girl to match a boy in status or essential when a girl is to get married or grow up in hierarchy at work place.
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare’s ad claims that a single sachet of Horlicks has iron content equivalent to 75 grams of almonds. The visuals of almonds in conjunction with the claim “Tej Dimaj” created a perception that one serving of Horlicks would provide all the nutrients that almonds are very well known to have.
Heinz India’s ad claims that one pack of Complan gives the strength of more than 5 litres of milk.
L'Oreal India’s ad for Garnier Fructis Long & Strong claims “Now get even stronger hair with improved formula”.
The ad of Emami Fair and Handsome Cream & Face Wash claims to be ‘World’s No. 1 Fairness Cream for Men’.
Bajaj Corp’s ad for Bajaj Nomarks claims to remove dark circles in just four weeks and “Marks se no marks sach mein possible”.
The ad of Samsung Galaxy Star Pro by Cheil India claims that ‘Do Mahine ke Liye Internet Bilkul Muft’, but the fine print states ‘1 GB 2 G data har mahiney muft’. The complainant questioned the use of the statement ‘Bilkul Muft’ (totally free) when the offer was based on a condition. The CCC viewed the print ad and considered the advertiser’s response and concluded that the claim in the ad was misleading, hence the complaint was upheld.
The advertisement of Apple iPhone 5S claims that the effective price of iPhone 5S is Rs 41,010. This appears to be incorrect and to be a misrepresentation of facts. The CCC viewed the print ad and concluded that the ad distorts facts and is misleading. The complaint was upheld.
IT & Telecom
The advertisement of Idea Cellular claims that the genuineness of Pashmina Shawl is confirmed when it passes through a finger ring. A ring test is not at all a confirmatory test for certifying quality of a genuine Pashmina product. The parameters under the GI Act are the only testing parameters to check the genuineness of Pashmina.The CCC viewed the TVC and considered the advertiser’s response. The CCC concluded that the ad distorts facts and perpetuates a layman’s belief about testing Pashmina and, therefore, is misleading. The complaint was upheld.
MTNL Fiber Optics’s ad claims 100 MBPS Fiber Optics speed. But actually in 100MBPS connection the maximum speed will only be 10MBPS. The CCC viewed the ad and considered the advertiser’s response. The CCC concluded that the claim “100 MBPS Fiber Optics speed” was not substantiated and the complaint was upheld.
The pamphlet ad of Hathway Broadband Internet claims 50 MBPS for Rs 599. No conditions or explanation are given in the pamphlet. In the absence of comments from the advertiser, the CCC concluded that the claim ‘50 MBPS for Rs 599’ was not substantiated. The complaint was upheld.
Food & Beverages
As per the complaint, “The YouTube advertisement shows Magic Moments Remix Music CDs (from Radico Khaitan), which is a proxy ad for their flavoured vodkas. The advertisement directly shows promoting their liquor product ‘Magic Moments Remix’ showing FlavourUp Life with 6 Magic Moments Remix flavors -Orange, Green Apple, Lemon, Lemongrass Ginger, Raspberry, Chocolate or the smooth Grain.” The CCC reviewed the TVC and considered the advertiser’s response. In the absence of supporting data from the advertiser, the CCC concluded that the advertisement was a surrogate advertisement for Magic Moments Remix flavoured vodka. The complaint was upheld.
As per the complaint, “The advertisement of Dominos Pizza (from Jubilant Foodworks) shows two roommates use a third roommate’s credit card to order a pizza without his permission. This is spreading an unacceptable message to youngsters to use someone else’s credit card without their permission.” The CCC viewed the TVC and considered the advertiser’s response. The Council concluded that TVC depicts credit card of one individual being used by another without his permission contravenes Chapter III.4 of the ASCI code. This complaint was upheld.
The ad for Videocon Industries’ Kelvinator Supercool refrigerators claims that the product does not require a stabiliser. The complainant states that the cooling stopped due to a technical reason, that is, the compressor tripped due to voltage fluctuations. On enquiring it was suggested to the complainant that he should use a voltage stabiliser (with fuse) to avoid tripping, but company marketed the product as ‘Stabiliser not required’. The CCC concluded that the company’s claims were not substantiated and the complaint was upheld.
Other ads in the Consumer Durables category against which the complaints were upheld included Hi-Tech Sweet Water Technologies and Easy Dry Systems.
The CCC found claims in print ads by 39 different advertisers in the Education category that were not substantiated and thus, violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions and hence, the complaints against these ads were upheld.