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ASCI turns down complaint against Business Today ad campaign

06-September-2004
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ASCI turns down complaint against Business Today ad campaign

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has turned down the complaint filed against Business Today magazine of the Living Media Group for its campaign claiming to be “India’s No.1 Business Magazine”. The complaint was filed by Businessworld magazine of the ABP Group.

Businessworld had filed the complaint against Business Today’s four-ad campaign which had appeared in the May 2004 issue Pitch magazine published by the exchange4media group. The campaign had been conceived by Grey Worldwide, Business Today’s advertising agency.

The complaint, filed in June, said that the ads gave comparative estimates of the readerships of the three business magazines, Business Today, Businessworld and Business India, with a claim that Business Today is “India’s No.1 Business Magazine”.

It argued that figures relating to readerships had been used to the advantage of Business Today, “conveniently overlooking the circulation figures” of the respective magazines. “In terms of circulation, Businessworld has far larger figures than Business Today,” the complaint said.

Businessworld further said that the four ads had been “conceived, designed and published in such a manner” so as to make those who “see the picture and read the textual part” to believe that Businessworld was an “insignificant and trivial magazine”. The ads made “disparaging reference and denigrated the reputation” of Businessworld magazine, the complaint added.

Business Today, in its reply to ASCI, had argued that all media planners and buyers rely on readership figures to determine the efficacy of any media vehicle. “In order to be on equal footing with the Broadcast media which is using viewership data to show its total audience, the Print media also uses readership data to show its comparative reach. For any publication, building circulation is always aimed at achieving the ultimate objective of higher readership base.”

The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI, which went into complaint, held that the claim made in the four ads – that of Business Today being “India’s No.1 Business Magazine” – was substantiated, based on supporting data of readership mentioned in the ads. CCC also held that the claims made by the ads – “With no facts to back their claims” (first ad), “Losing isn’t all that bad – you may have got used to it” (second ad), “Knocked down like nine pins” (third ad), and “Moral of the story: when you are all gas, even a pin prick can prove fatal” (fourth ad) – were not disparaging in the given context. ASCI gave its ruling last month.

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