The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has released its report for the period January 2010 on ads that were either withdrawn or modified. A total of eight ads had been brought under its scanner, of which two ads have been withdrawn, one has been modified, while five ads were not upheld by the Consumer Complaints Councils (CCC).
The Vodafone Essar Ltd advertisement, which featured the Zoozoo characters committing suicide, was banned as it shows a dangerous action, which is likely to encourage minors to emulate such acts. The ad manifested a disregard for safety and encouraged negligence, it was held.
The Erudite Educational Centre Pvt Ltd ad claimed “3 out of 4 IIM Calls from Kolkata’ have been a part of the Erudite training programme. However, the claim was unsupported and unsubstantiated by an independent source. The advertisement was considered misleading and hence, was asked to be taken off air.
In another case of deceptive advertising, the Yum! Restaurants (India) Pvt Ltd ad showed a pizza with a starting price of Rs 100, but the pizza visually depicted was higher priced. Accordingly, the advertiser was asked to modify the ad. These ads were found to be in violation of Chapter 3.2(b), 3.3, 1.1 and 1.4 of the ASCI Advertising Code.
According to ASCI Secretary-General Alan Colaco, “The number of complaints against misleading, dishonest and indecent ads has substantially increased in the last two months after ASCI launched its social awareness campaign. Consumers are getting more and more aware of their rights and duties. On the other hand, advertisers themselves are taking all precautions so that creativity does not mar authenticity of their claims. Today, there is almost 98 per cent voluntary compliance by advertisers of CCC’s decisions on complaints.”
The complaints that were not upheld by ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council included Hindustan Unilever’s Surf Excel, Harpic Max Clean, Red Bull, Castrol Lubricants and Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance.
According to CCC, the Surf Excel ad, wherein a boy is frolicking in the mud, was not in any kind exhibiting a dangerous practice; in fact, the child is playing in the mud to provide solace to his teacher who has lost her pet, and as the said product promotes cleanliness.
In the case of the Harpic Max Clean ad from Reckitt Benckiser, the TVC claimed that Harpic provides the maximum cleaning. The usage instruction talks about 20 minutes contact time. However, the claim of Harpic providing maximum cleaning and Harpic cleaning all germs post 60 minutes of contact with undiluted product were substantiated.
As for the Red Bull TVC, it had the cautionary message mentioned on the product pack and was found acceptable, negating the complaint registered against the same.
In the case of Castrol India Ltd’s TVC for Castrol Lubricants, a truck driver was shown with his pilot son, in which the father says to his son “I am no less than a pilot on the road as you are in the air”. The TVC does not contravene the guidelines on automotive advertising according to the CCC. Also, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Company’s TVC, showing a tax emergency van running on the street and a beacon light as if it was an ambulance and violating traffic rules just to please a customer, was not upheld as it cleared the limits of creative license.