In January 2017, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 143 out of 191 advertisements. Out of 143 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 102 belonged to the Healthcare category, 20 to the Education, followed by 7 in Personal Care, 6 in the Food & Beverages, and 8 advertisements from other categories.
The CCC found the following claims of 102 advertisements in healthcare products or services to be either misleading or false or not adequately/scientifically substantiated and hence violating ASCI’s Code. Some of the healthcare 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.
1. Proyurveda Lifescience (Max ARTHO Capsules, Oil and Gel): The advertisement’s claims, “helps in protecting Joint cartilage by reducing degeneration” and “helps in treating the root cause of joint pain”, were inadequately substantiated and are misleading by implication.
2. Nurture Health Care (Medora Capsules): The advertisement’s claim (in Marathi) as translated into English, “Medora capsules deliver weight reduction without any lifestyle changes” was not substantiated with evidence of product efficacy, and is misleading by exaggeration.
3. Qi Lifecare (Qi Spine Clinic): The advertisement’s claim, “New treatment approach helps 50-year-old achieve complete recovery from 12 years of chronic back pain” was inadequately substantiated. It was considered that the testimonials did not constitute reliable objective evidence and did not entitle the advertiser to make very broad claims as made in the advertisement regarding surgery-free recovery. The consumers would be likely to understand that the testimonial was genuine representation of complete recovery from chronic back pain by the advertised treatment alone, and was representative of the results that could be generally achieved by taking the treatment. Also, since the physiotherapy treatment approach is well established, calling it “new” was considered to be misleading. Further the claim, “India’s first back pain specialist” was not substantiated with comparative data versus other similar clinics providing similar treatment to prove this claim. Also, the claims are misleading by exaggeration.
4. Shree Maruti Herbal (Stay On Power Capsules): The advertisement’s claim, “Clinically 99.99% efficacy proven power capsules” was not substantiated with clinical evidence of product efficacy. Also, the claim when read in conjunction with the text in the body copy of the advertisement and product visual is misleading by implication that the product, which as per pack declaration is “Herbal supplement for men”, is for improvement in their capacity for sexual pleasure. It was noted that this medical product is being presented as “amazing gift”, which people could exchange for Diwali among friends and considered this to be misleading by ambiguity and considered this to manifest a disregard for safety while consumption of the product and encourage negligence. It was further concluded that the advertisement gives a false impression regarding the true character of the medicine and is in breach of the law as it violated the Drugs & Magic Remedies Act (DMR Act).
The CCC found following claims in the advertisements by 20 different advertisers were not substantiated and thus, violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions. Hence, complaints against these advertisements were upheld.
1. Vidyamandir Classes: The advertisement’s claim, “Cash reward worth 2 crores” was not substantiated with supporting evidence of the students who have received the cash worth Rs 2 crore. Also the claim, “Upto Scholarship upto 100%” was not substantiated with authentic supporting data such as evidence of 100 per cent scholarships availed by their students. The claims are misleading by exaggeration.
2. Cadd Centre India (Cadd Centre-Ce): The advertisement’s claim, “First Time Ever In India! 1000 Jobs In 100 Days For Cadd Quest Participants” and “Job Guarantee For 1000 Students” were not substantiated with verifiable support data such as detailed list of students who have been placed through their Institute, contact details of students for independent verification, enrolment forms and appointment letters received by the students, nor any independent audit or verification certificate. The claims are likely to mislead the students into believing that the institute is providing permanent jobs.
1. Nivea India (Nivea Protect & Care Deodorant): The print advertisement has visual of Nivea Creme super-imposed on the deodorant can image and claims, “With the Goodness of Nivea crème#", and “#” is qualified as "Refers to Nivea Creme fragrance". This communication was considered to be misleading by ambiguity and implication that several other major ingredients (and not only fragrance) of Nivea Creme are added to the deodorant product. The front of the pack claim, "with Nivea Creme ingredients" accompanied by a visual of cream, and back of pack claim of “With precious Nivea Crème ingredients” is likely to mislead the consumers that Nivea Protect & Care Deodorant has several major skincare ingredients of Nivea Crème, whereas the predominant common element of both the products is the Nivea Fragrance. These claims are misleading by ambiguity.
2. Richfeel Health & Beauty: The advertisement showcases pictures of the results both pre and post treatment. It was noted that the advertiser did not provide their response specific to the claims/visuals objected to, nor did they provide photographic evidence to prove that the pictures shown in the advertisement (pre and post treatment) are demonstrating the real benefit achieved through the treatment. It was concluded that the efficacy being depicted via images of before and after the treatment are false and misleading by gross exaggeration. Without this evidence, addition of any disclaimers was not considered acceptable.
3. Hindustan Unilever (Rin Antibac): The advertisement’s claim, “Presenting new Rin Antibac with Ayurvedic extracts removes germs” accompanied by visuals implying sterile clothes, was not substantiated, and is misleading by implication and exaggeration as the advertised product does not have the property to provide germ protection in wear conditions. As the clothes will be exposed to different environments, they would be contaminated and would carry germs. Both the claims i.e. germ inhibition/sterile clothing in wear conditions and provided only by the advertised product (i.e. other detergent not providing similar benefit) was thus not substantiated.
FOOD & BEVERAGES:
1. S.V. Fruit (Go Green Frozen Fruits): It was concluded that while the advertised product may be carbide free, claiming it to “protect from Cancer” is misleading by exaggeration.
2. Gujarat Co-Operative Milk Marketing Federation (Amul Butter): The advertisement refers to butter being a rich source of Vitamin A and further states that “Eat milk with every meal and live every day, worry-free”. It was considered the latter part of the statement to be misleading by implication and is encouraging excessive consumption of butter which may not be advisable from the health point of view.
3. Coca-Cola India (Thums Up): The advertisement showcases a rider performing a wheelie in normal streets, traffic conditions, in the midst of a few people. This is contradictory to the disclaimer made in the advertisement – “the actions are for representational purposes alone and must not be copied by viewers.” It was concluded that though the overall advertisement is not objectionable, regardless of the disclaimer, the specific visual showing the stunt performed by the rider (wheelie) in normal traffic and/or in presence of bystanders and public, encourages dangerous practices, manifests a disregard for safety and encourages negligence.
1. Standard Chartered Bank (Standard Chartered credit card): The advertisement claim, “Get upto 10 per cent extra cashback on all spends with your Standard Chartered credit card” is false and is misleading by ambiguity as the cashback being offered is limited to Rs 10,000.
2. Apple India (Apple): The advertisement’s text states, “The amazing iPhone 7 is here”, but shows an image of iPhone 7 Plus variant, which is misleading by ambiguity and implication. While the advertiser may have a logo/trademark with “iPhone7”, by omission of any reference to “series” in the advertisement text and in absence of any visual of iPhone 7 variant, it was concluded that the advertisement is likely to mislead the consumers about the product advertised and its corresponding features.
3. Opera Software Asa (Opera Mini): The advertisement’s claim, “Saves data cost up to 90 per cent while browsing” was not substantiated with supporting data and is misleading by exaggeration.