In June 2016, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 98 out of 159 advertisements. Out of 98 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 39 belonged to the Education category, 25 in the Healthcare & Personal Care category, followed by 11 in the Food & Beverages category, six in e-commerce category and 17 advertisements from other categories.
Godrej Consumer Products’ Cinthol Deo Stick advertisement’s was pulled up for its claim“3X longer”. The advertisement, which indicates the product to be 3X better than all deodorants (all formats) has been tested against only two marketed products. Since these products do not represent the major market leaders/players and all the Deo product formats, CCC believes that the claim is not substantiated and is misleading by ambiguity and exaggeration.
Athena Life Sciences’ Hair for Sure ad maintained, “Meri maniye Main ek Trichologist – Baalon ka doctor, Isiliye I recommend Hair for Sure”, - a trichologist endorsing the product. This claim was not substantiated and was considered to be misleading by implication as the World Medical Trichologists Association (WMTA) certificate submitted by the advertiser only supports product quality and the certificate categorically states that it is not an endorsement for the product claim. Also, the claim, “Isme hai Rutexil – Ek breakthrough comprehensive regrowth complex, which effectively “regrows hair from the roots”, was not adequately substantiated with clinical evidence. The claim, when read in conjunction with the visuals in the TVC showing significant regrowth of hair on bald patches, was considered to be grossly misleading. The supers in the Hindi TVC were not in the same language as the audio of the TVC.
Yet another advertisement from the same brand which claimed ‘to stop hair loss’ was considered to be false as some hair fall is natural and cannot be stopped. The claim was misleading by exaggeration. Furthermore, for the advertisement’s claims, “Hair Regrowth Treatment” and “Begin Hair growth”, the in vitro data submitted regarding the constituents stated that the constituents do help in hair growth. However, there was no evidence that this data is extrapolatable to in vivo situation to support hair regrowth claim.
Another product (Just for Moms Maternity Stretch Marks Prevention Lotion) from Athena Life Science was pulled up for its advertisement stating “Tested and Gynaecologist approved”. This claim was not substantiated with relevant data as the test was for skin irritation potential carried out in males and non-pregnant female subjects. Also, the advertisement’s claim, “Helps reduce stretch marks” was not substantiated and is misleading, CCC said.
Among food and beverages, Patanjali Ayurved’s Patanjali Juices claims, “Will you still drink expensive fruit juices with less fruit pulp or drink cheaper Patanjali fruit juices with more fruit pulp for good health and more saving.” This unfairly denigrated the class/category of fruit juices, CCC accused. Meanwhile, Patanjali Energy Bar which suggested “Chocolate ki buri aadat se chutkara payein”again unfairly maligned the entire class/category of chocolates.
Among educational institutes, CCC cracked the whip on LBS Institute of Management & Technology, Hierank Business School, ITM Business School, IMS Unison University and Indore Indira Group (Indore Indira Business School) for unsubstantiated claims in their ads.
In the e-commerce category, ibibo Group Private Limited (Goibibo.com Refer and Earn scheme) was pulled up for its claim, “Refer friends to download app and get free hotel night stay for 1st referral + 1000 goCash”, where in reality, the advertiser has been only giving a Rs.1000 discount for one night stay.
While Uber India Systems’s flat Rs.10 offer was misleading by omission of the validity period, Naaptol Online Shopping’s Body Massage Cum Fat Burner claimed “local fat and cellulitis loss”, which was an exaggeration.
Policy Bazaar and Printvenue were also in the dock for misleading ads. Among others, Havells India, Kent RO Systems, LG Electronics India, Renault India and Asian Paints were also upheld for unsubstantiated claims.