The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has released its report for the period January-March, 2008 on ads that were either modified or withdrawn. The report states that a total of 35 ads were brought under the scanner, out of which eight have been withdrawn, seven modified, one was a special case, seven were upheld by the Consumer Complaint Council (CCC) citing due assurance against the complaint, while 12 were not upheld by the CCC.
Details of the ads that were withdrawn:
Four ads in the print category were withdrawn.
Axis Bank Ltd - Quick and Easy Personal Loans: The ad was printed on their national bill mail service envelope, which showcased a parakeet picking up a fortune card with the tagline, ‘Your wishes are now fulfilled within 48 hours’. But according to CCC, parakeets are protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 as well as under Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001, and the visual violated the Acts. As a result of the same, the advertiser assured that the said creative would not be used in any ads.
Alapatt Jewellers (16 Gold and Certified Diamonds): The ad published in Malayalam (and translated in English) stated, “916 purity should be there not only in the advertisement but also in the gold ornament, without hall marking there is no purity and will not get good price when exchanged, whole-sellers jewellery that you get at 1 per cent or 2 per cent making charge discount will have less value when exchanged”. CCC decided that the advertisement was misleading and so it was withdrawn.
Dabur India Ltd (Sani Fresh Thick Toilet Cleaner): This ad done by O&M had appeared in ‘Good Housekeeping’ (January 2008 issue) with an ad line ‘SaniFesh Thick. The secret of my shiny, silky hair’. CCC agreed to the complaint and said that the ad line was likely to be misconstrued as an ad for a hair shampoo and not for a toilet cleaner, and accordingly the ad was withdrawn.
Kent RO Systems Pvt Ltd (Kent Water Softener): The ad, which appeared in Hindustan Times (January 10, 2008), claimed: ‘Not only it smoothened skin and prevented hair loss, but it also enhanced the lather formation…’. CCC agreed to the complaint that Kent Water Softener was not substantiated with supporting technical information and test/trail reports. The ad has been withdrawn.
Two ads in the digital category were withdrawn.
Hyundai Motors India Ltd. (Hyundai Verna): This ad appeared on the company’s website and stated: ‘Hyundai Verna diesel variant “CRDI VGT” has a fuel economy of 32.8 kmpl’. The complaint was that the vehicle never measured a fuel economy of over 11 kmpl. As a result CCC decided that the exparte’s claim was not substantiated, and so, the ad was discontinued.
Trent Ltd (Sisley Fall Winter Collection 07): The ad appeared as a promotional email with the headline: “You’ll melt once inside”, while a visual showed a woman in a seductive pose. CCC agreed that the visual depiction was likely to cause grave or widespread offence, and the ad has been withdrawn.
Two ads in the television category were withdrawn.
Godrej Sara Lee Ltd (Good Knight Maha Jumbo Mosquito Coil): The TVC was aired on Zee Marathi (January 14, 2008), wherein the TVC claimed: ‘Jitki sugandhi, titkich prabhavi (As fragrant as it is effective)’. The visual showed a model inhaling the so-called fragrant vapors. CCC agreed to the complaint that the visual depiction showed a dangerous practice without justifiable reason. As of now the advertiser has verbally informed that the TVC is off air, but a written confirmation is still awaited.
Parle Agro Pvt Ltd (Mintrox Mint): The ad was aired on Star Cricket (January 25, 2008), wherein a convict lands up in a mental hospital and the jailor teases the convict. A mental hospital was shown in the background and some inmates were shown in a poor light. CCC agreed that the insensitive portrayal of the mentally challenged in the ad was likely to cause grave or widespread offence, as a result of which the TVC was withdrawn.
Details of the ads that were modified:
Six ads in the print category were modified.
Haier Appliances (India) Pvt Ltd (Haier ACs): This ad appeared in The Times Of India (April 27, 2007) and claimed that Haier ACs saved power up to 51 per cent, offered ‘future comfort technology, superior air conditioning, refresh function, intelligent air flow, 4-stage air filter, revolutionary digital DC inverter technology, super ioniser and healthy UV ray generator’. CCC decided to go with the complaint, as the claims made in the ad were not substantiated. The ad has been modified.
NaiDunia (NaiDunia is No. 1 again in Indore city): Two leading publication houses carried the ad in their respective issues dated December 17-23, 2007 and December 16-31, 2007, with source mentioned as ‘As per private survey, NaiDunia is the most preferred newspaper of Indore’. CCC decided that NaiDunia’s claim was not substantiated as the same was evident from the surveys conducted by IRS and NRS. Consequently, the advertiser assured appropriate modification of the ad.
Kinetic Engineering Ltd (Kinetic SYM Flyte): Publicis Ambience, the agency for Kinetic, came up with an ad that claimed ‘It’s made by the two companies that know scooters best - Kinetic and SYM, Europe’s fastest growing two-wheeler company. Largest 2 level storage, our confidence, 3 years warranty’ for the first 10,000 customers only, and 4-in-1 magnetic key for initial customer only. CCC stated that the claims and the initial customer offer were both not substantiated and were misleading by ambiguity. As a result, the advertisers assured that the ad was modified with immediate effect.
Garware Polyester Ltd (Garware Suncontrol Window Film): The ad, which appeared in ‘Auto India’ (January 2008 issue), claimed, ‘A non-fading dyed film, unlike imported coated film, which fades in three months, clear distorted free view, no peeling or bubbling of film, best film for Indian conditions, exported to more than 50 countries, including USA, UK, Australia and Japan, and No. 1 brand in India’. CCC questioned the claims and found the claim of ‘Up to 5 years’ warranty’ as misleading by ambiguity. As a result, advertiser assured modification of the ad.
Belle Aarogya Biotech Pvt Ltd (Elevation-Remedy for Breast Care): The ad, which appeared in HT City (January 15, 2008), claimed that extensive research by qualified and eminent medical experts made elevation a path breaking remedy for breast care, ‘extensive trails result 92 per cent satisfaction for age 20-50 years, elevation is widely accepted by doctors for breast care’. CCC stated that the ad was misleading and was in contravention of the provisions of The Drugs & Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act, 1954. As a result, the ad was modified.
Trinity Health Clinic: This ad appeared in Mumbai Mirror (February 6, 2008) and claimed ‘natural and permanent hair growth within 30-40 days’. CCC decided that the advertiser should provide proof, supporting technical information, and details of tests/ trails conducted. This ad, too, has been modified.
One ad in the television category was modified.
Reckitt Benckiser (India) Ltd for Dettol Soap: The TVC was aired on Zee Marathi (August 28, 2007 and December 20, 2007) and implied that for elimination of organisms that caused cough and cold, Dettol should be used, as it ‘eliminates the organisms ten times faster than other soaps’. The TVC also stated: “IMA has approved Dettol and elimination of organisms that cause gastrointestinal diseases’. CCC stated that these claims were not substantiated. The advertiser assured appropriate modification.
There was one special case, wherein ING Vysya Life Insurance Company Ltd had a TVC done by their creative agency Rediffusion DYR, which was aired on January 2008 on Star Plus. The ad stated, while showing a new father holding his baby daughter: ‘Dikhne mein to pyaari hai, yeh khushiyan thodi bhaari hai’. The ad when viewed as a whole portrayed avoidable gender insensitivity. But as soon as the complaint was made, the advertiser informed that the campaign had ended in February 2008.
Apart from these, there were seven ads against whom complaints were upheld by the CCC as the assurance of compliance from the advertisers and ad agencies was still awaited. These include HT Media Ltd (Mint –No. 2 business daily in Mumbai and Delhi), Pernod Ricard India Pvt Ltd (Seagram’s Blenders Pride, agency O&M), Anchor Health & Beauty Care Pvt Ltd (Anchor Toothpaste), Spaceage Multiproducts Pvt Ltd (Morning Walker), Flair Pen & Plastic Industries (Flair Armstrong Ball Point Pen), The Institute of Computer Accountants (The ICA Advantage), and Videocon Industries Ltd (Videocon Consumer Durables).