The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has released its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) decision report for the month of September 2010 on the ads that were either withdrawn or modified. A total of 10 ads had been brought under its scanner, of which five ads were withdrawn while five ads were not upheld by the CCC.
The ads in question were of newspaper brands Prabhat Khabar, DNA and NaiDunia; FMCG brand Sprite and liquor brand McDowell’s No. 1.
As per the complaint against Prabhat Khabar, the paper had claimed No. 1 position in Jharkhand by citing data from the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) for the July-December 2009 period. The Council’s findings showed that the ABC July-December 2009 results did not reflect Prabhat Khabar as the numero uno newspaper in Jharkhand as the claim was not substantiated by the ABC report, taking into account the circulation of Jamshedpur. The advertiser has discontinued the advertisement.
Similarly, CCC found that DNA newspaper’s advertisement claims of being ‘The No. 1 daily for the independent people’, ‘The No. 1 daily for the new Indian’, ‘The No. 1 daily for the people’s voice’, and ‘The No. 1 daily for tomorrow’s leader’ were not substantiated with any data or research from any independent organisation. The advertiser did not state any source or explicit study conducted before making these claims. The said advertisement was suspended by the advertiser.
In the case of NaiDunia, the advertiser’s assurance of compliance was still awaited by ASCI. The NaiDunia ad stated: ‘This remarkable growth rate of NaiDunia can perhaps be an indication of the future, as much as that of current value’. The advertisement is considered misleading by CCCI as per Chapter I.4, since although the growth rate of NaiDunia and Dainik Bhaskar may have been correctly depicted, the absence of a base index rendered the advertisement misleading.
The Sprite TVC show two explorers captured by a tribe who are, apparently, cannibals and appeared quite distinctly African. One of them manages to get out of their clutches by bribing them with a soft drink bottle. CCC concluded that the ad projected negative stereotype of Africans and hence, violated Chapter III, 1 (b) of ASCI, which didn’t permit derision of race, caste, colour, creed or nationality. This led to the TVC being withdrawn by the advertiser.
In the case of McDowell’s No. 1 Platinum CD ad, which had the slogan: ‘Get inspired by the rare and legendary’, the CCC concluded that the ad was a surrogate ad for a liquor product – McDowell’s No. 1 – and hence, contravened Chapter III.6 of the Code. As the ad appears in the middle of a live cricket match, it is not distinguishable from the programme and hence, it also violates the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994. Subsequently, the TVC was withdrawn.
Among the ads that were not upheld by CCC were ITC Ltd’s Vivel Fairness Cream TVC; Nivea Cool Kick Deodorant TVC; Mankind Pharma’s Manforce Chocolate Flavoured Condoms TVC, and Lovable Lingerie Ltd ads.
In case of Manforce Chocolate Flavoured Condoms, ASCI concurred that the TVC was not likely to cause grave or widespread offence, but found that it was not suitable for family viewing and hence, the advertiser had been advised to air the TVC after family viewing hours, that is, between 11.00 pm and 6.00 am.