The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has released its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) decision report for the months of May and June 2010. A total of seven ads had been brought under its scanner, of which five ads have been withdrawn, while two have been modified.
For the month of May, Johnson & Johnson (Stayfree Secure Ultra Thin Napkins) and Scorpio Enterprise (Natraj Atta Maker) were questioned for their claims and were asked to modify their claims. For the month of June, companies like Reliance Communications’ CDMA Plan, Parle Agro LMN Juice, and Volkswagen Polo were asked to withdraw/ discontinue their ads.
Advertisements with claims that might not be exclusive just to one particular product can mislead the consumers and that’s exactly what happened with the J&J Stayfree Secure Ultra Thin Napkins TVC. The TVC claimed that due to a super absorbent polymer, the heavy flow was converted into gel form and was locked. But this benefit is also provided by other sanitary napkins without any super absorbent polymer. The TVC also made a comparison with another product – Whisper Choice (which has similar orange packaging). According to the CCC decision, the TVC did not denigrate the competitor’s product, however the communication misled and hence, the advertiser was asked to modify the commercial appropriately.
In the case for Scorpio Enterprise’s Natraj Atta Maker, the ad made three claims, one of which was that it saved grains up to 25 per cent, which had not been substantiated. Hence, post CCC’s decision, the advertiser promised withdrawal of the misleading claims.
The TVC for LMN Juice from Parle Agro was thought to have hinted at racism by portraying Africans in a bad light and hence, it has been withdrawn. The basis was that it had undernourished stereotypes as Africans, which could be viewed as racist.
As for Reliance Communications Ltd, the unsubstantiated claims made regarding both Net Calls and Reliance CDMA Plan resulted in the withdrawal of both the ads. They claimed that net calls were unlimited, while the CDMA plan gave unlimited talk time. But both these plans are subject to certain limits, which were not mentioned in the ads. Under Chapter I.1, these claims were not substantiated and thereby discontinued.
In the auto sector, the new Volkswagen Polo car ad campaign under scrutiny under Chapter III.4 and has been discontinued as it was found to have violated the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001. This has been done with respect to the advertisements with the rhino as well as the buffaloes as both these ads portray violence against animals.
Apart from these, complaints made against Mankind Pharma Ltd (Don’t Worry Sanitary Pads), Kalyan Jewellers, State Bank of India (The Banker to Every Indian), Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Co Ltd (Bajaj Allianz Shield Plus), T. I. M. E.(IIT-JEE 2011/ 2012), Henkel India Ltd (Pril Power Gel), Career Launcher (I) Ltd (CAT’09, GMAT’09, CET’09 Results), Coca Cola India Pvt Ltd (Thums Up – Thunder Wheels Offer), Kerala Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (Milma Ice Cream), Max Bupa Health Insurance Company Ltd, GlaxosmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd (Horlicks), Travel Guru (Travelguru.com), Paras Pharmaceuticals Ltd (Zatak deodorant) and Noesis Education and Management Services (Free CAT – 10 Workshop) were not substantiated.