In November 2016, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 100 out of 152 advertisements. Out of 100 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 43 belonged to the Healthcare category, 17 to the Education category, followed by 11 in Personal Care Category, 7 in the Food & Beverages category, 6 in the e-Commerce Category and 16 advertisements from other categories.
In Healthcare, the CCC found the following claims of 43 advertisements in health care products or services 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 advertisements also contravened provisions of the Drug & Magic Remedies Act and Chapter 1.1 and III.4 of the ASCI Code. Complaints against the following advertisements were UPHELD: Feel fresh mouth care, Shathayu Ayurveda, Livactin-G, Shakshii Wellness, Care Institute of Medical Sciences, Goodlife Wellness, Memory Vita Focus Factor, Amplifon, Mankind Limited’s Gas-O-Fast, Dr. Batra’s Homeopathy Family Clinic,
Lifespan Diabetes Clinics, Bansal Hospital, Richfeel Trichology Centre Hair and Scalp Clinic-Hair Thinning Treatment-Anagrow and Memory Plus Tonic to name a few.
In the education category it was found that claims in the advertisements by 17 different advertisers were not substantiated and, thus, violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions. Complaints against these advertisements were upheld: Swadesh Classes, Orane Institute of Beauty & Wellness, Army Institute of Management, Institute of professional education and research, Buddha Institute of Technology (BIT), Panipat Institute of Engineering and Technology, Dexter Academy, Xavier University Bhubaneswar, Sarthik Industrial Training Institute, Banaras Institute of Engineering & Technology, Indian fire and Nursing School, Northern Group of Institute- (Northern Institute of Engineering Technical Campus), Arcot Sri Mahalakshmi Women’s College, RICS School of Built Environment Amity University, Koustuv Technical Campus Koustuv Institute of Self Domain & College of Engg, DRIEMS Group Of Institutions- DRIEMS School of Hotel Management and Pathfinder Institute of Agriculture.
In the personal care category ads that were found to be misleading were that of Kesh King by Emami Limited where the advertisement depicts a photo of a girl with shoulder length short hair as before and with waist-length long hair as after as a result of using oil and shampoo for two years. It was noted that apart from the single consumer testimonial, the advertiser did not provide any technical rationale for the product benefit of stopping hair loss and enhance significant hair growth as claimed in the testimonial / depicted in the advertisement nor any other clinical evidence for the product efficacy as implied. For Torque Pharmaceutical’s UB Fair, it was observed that the advertisement shows a protagonist with dark complexion pre-use. The advertisement emphasizes the improvement skin tone and the voice over states “… banja star…”, “UB Fair, ab ladkon ki nikal padi”. This when seen in conjunction with the visuals of the protagonist with fairer skin tone, happy, smiling and surrounded by women was considered to be in contravention of Clause 1 and 2 of the ASCI Guidelines of Advertising for Skin Lightening or Fairness Improvement Products.
Hindustan Unilever’s Lakme Youth Infinity Range of Products too came under the scanner as the advertisement’s claim, “The new Lakme Youth Infinity range keeps the contoured look of youth”, and “Percentages of women who have experienced the sculpting power of Lakme Youth Infinity Day Crème*” were not substantiated and are misleading.
Ads of Marico’s Parachute Advanced Coconut Hair Oil too was found to be misleading as the voice over claim, “Parachute Advanced apnaiye aur paiye World’s Best Hair”, is an absolute claim which is not substantiated. Also, the claim is misleading by gross exaggeration and a misrepresentation regarding the product benefit.
Other ads in the personal care category that were found to make false claims were that of New Anchor health plus soap; Radyance Skin Brightening Complex, which claims to make you five shades fairer in 14 days; Ruturaj Herbal Shampoo that claims to be completely free from chemicals, Minus Cosmetic and Aswini Hair Oil.
In the Food & Beverages category, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare’s Horlicks Oats advertisement’s claim, “Helps Manage Healthy Blood Pressure”, by the advertiser is quite different from the International approach by the USFDA or EFSA wherein the claim itself refers to the “low sodium” feature and presents the benefit more as a “possibility” than an “assurance”. It was concluded that the claim was misleading by ambiguity and implication. Other ads that were listed were Nilgiris Golden Bakes Cookies – Almond & Choco- chip, where the visual representation of choco chip quantity on the product packaging was found to be misleading by implication; Areca Tea, which claimed to be “Anti-Diabetic – Anti-Oxidant – Anti Ulcer”, and “Anti-Ageing”, were not substantiated and are misleading by exaggeration; Vimal Refined Sunflower Oil; Gulab Sungold Refined Sunflower Oil; Kanodia Rice Bran Oil and Zevia Sweetener.
In e-commerce, Amazon India’s offer on HTC Desire 620G Dual Sim being sold at MRP Rs.14,900 was found to be false. Pepperfry.com’s ad shows the product (sofa) being returned as it did not fit in the space available and gives an impression that it was the customer’s mistake. The advertisement does not clearly say that it is the mistake of the vendor. Cleartrip’s “Lock a flight for today and pay only if your plan is confirmed. Even if the fare increases you still pay only the locked fare” claim was found to be misleading by omission of information that lock-in feature is subject to several terms and conditions. Other e-commerce ads that came under the scanner were of Paytm, Freecharge and Magic Bricks.
In the Others category ads that were found to make false claims or were misleading were that of Sparkle Dishwash Tub, Bombay Barbeque, Ecopia Tyres, Bajaj Pulsar, Idea Cellular, Indigo Airlines and Philips Appliances.