ASCI upholds complaints against Facebook, Coca-Cola & Airtel among others
In January 2016, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 51 out of 102 advertisements. Out of 51 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 13 belonged to the Education category, 12 to the Food & Beverages category, followed by 11 in the Healthcare category, 6 in the ecommerce category and 9 advertisements from other categories.
Health & Personal Care
The CCC found the following claims in health care & personal care product or service advertisements of 11 advertisers 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:
1. Bavishi Fertility Institute (100% guarantee in IVF): The advertisement’s claim, “100% Money Back Guarantee”, was not substantiated by providing details of the money back package plans and the workings of how the entire treatment expenses are refunded. Also, the headline claim, “Ab koi Nisanthan na rahe”, when read in conjunction with the claim of “100% money back guarantee”, appears to be false and misleading in absence of declaration of the failure rates of the procedure and the need for multiple attempts for success. It was further concluded that the headline “Ab koi Nisanthan na rahe” is misleading and implies guaranteed cure for infertility, which is in breach of the law as it violates the Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
2. FutureValue Products Pvt. Ltd. (Dr. Back Orthopedic Mattress): The claim in the advertisement, “Dr. Back Orthopedic Mattress cures back ache” was not substantiated and in absence of this data, the advertisement was considered to be misleading by ambiguity.
3. Emami Ltd. (Kesh King Ayurvedic Medicinal Oil): The claim in the advertisement, “Bejod upaay” as translated in English; “Unmatched solution” was not substantiated with clinical evidence of the product – especially for the claim related to premature greying of hair. This claim, when read in conjunction with the claim, “complete care” implies total cure for hair problems which was misleading.
4. Dabur India Ltd. (Dabur Vatika Enriched Coconut Oil): The claims in the advertisement, “Vatika Enriched Coconut Hair Oil provides body & radiance while taking care of the critical balance of nutrients. Unlike ordinary coconut oil, Vatika's coconut oil is enriched with the goodness of 8 time tested herbs. They work magic on your hair, giving your hair & scalp complete nourishment for that problem free, healthy crowning glory”, were not adequately substantiated with product and ingredient specific data.
5. Mosons Extractions Pvt. Ltd. (Indulekha Bringha Oil): The claims, “IndulekhaBringha Oil or simply Bringha oil is complete ayurvedic hair oil to all modern day hair problems. In Ayurveda hair care involves two stages. Kesapadasamanam (Hair fall reduction), Kesavardhanam (Stimulate new hair growth). There are specific herbs and natural elements that are prescribed in Ayurveda to prevent hair fall and promote new hair growth”, were not substantiated.
6. Uttam Dawakhana: The claim in the advertisement, “with Vanaspati oil and unaniraambaan medicines, 100% satisfaction of sexual problems”, was not substantiated. Also, specific to the claims implying treatment for sexual problems, and advertisement visual implying enhancement of sexual pleasure, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violates the Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
7. Patanjali Ayurved Limited (Youvan Gold Plus): The claims on pack of Youvan Gold Plus, “An authentic powder booster Ayurvedic Medicine useful in physical & sexual weakness which improves libido, vigour & vitality, sexual power. Keeps you always healthy, energetic & gives you total satisfaction of married life”, were not substantiated and imply that the product is meant for enhancement of sexual pleasure, which is in breach of the law as it violates the Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
8. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. (Hairootz): The claim in the advertisement “your hair is starving” was not substantiated and no product efficacy data was submitted to demonstrate how the advertised product nourishes hair. Further, the advertisement claims “Minerals to keep brittle and greying hair nourished”, “20 x more effective anti- oxidants derived from grape seed extracts”. There was no rationale provided for choosing the particular product composition. Thus, the claims were considered to be misleading by ambiguity and implication. In addition, the claim “Dermatologist recommended brand” appearing on pack visual was not substantiated.
9. Rajasthan Aushdhalaya Pvt. Ltd. (Dr. Relaxi Oil & Capsule): The claims in the advertisement, “Prescribed by thousands of Doctors”, “The only remedy for joint pains” and “Largest selling medicine for joint pains”, were not substantiated.
10. Shree Baidyanath Ayurved Bhawan Pvt. Ltd. (Rheumartho Gold Plus Capsules): The claims in the advertisement, “Gold Bhasma is the most powerful & effective ingredient for Chronic Pain Management” and “It has been widely accepted in the Western World for Modern Medicine”, were not substantiated.
11. Rajnish Hot Deals Pvt. Ltd. (Play Win Capsule): The claim in the advertisement regarding enhancement of sexual capability read in conjunction with the visuals (including the pack shot), is in breach of the law as it violates the Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
Food & Beverages
1. Dabur India Ltd. (Dabur Chyawanprash): The claim in the advertisement, “eating Chyawanprash will protect us from pollution by building immunity”, was not adequately substantiated. Also, though the TVC was in Hindi, the voiceover/supers were in English. The TVC contravened Chapter I.1 of ASCI Code and ASCI Guidelines on Supers
2. Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. (Patanjali Pure Cow’s Ghee): The reference to “Keratin” content in Cow’s milk” in the advertisement was found to be an error. The word Keratin was used instead of “Carotene” and the claim “Scientific fact: Cow's milk contains Keratin” was incorrect.
3. Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. (Patanjali Atta Noodles): The claim in the advertisement, “Oil Free” was not substantiated and is misleading by implication.
4. Jivo Wellness Pvt. Ltd. (Jivo Canola Oils): The claims in the print advertisement, “Approximately 4 people may be dying per minute because of heart problem and 2 people every minute of diabetes. Surely YOU do not want to be one among 66.8 Million diabetes patients in India” “Let your head be where your heart is…in the lap of CANOLA HEALTH” “Make no compromise when it comes to health of yourself and family” were not substantiated and were misleading by exaggeration and implication.
5. Dabur India Ltd. (Dabur Honey): The claim in the advertisement, “Ranked No.1 on Quality” was not substantiated for the “quality” aspect.
6. Kunnath Pharmaceuticals (Musli Power X-tra): The claim in the advertisement, “To boost immunity”, was not substantiated.
7. Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd. (Sunrich Refined Sunflower Oil): The claims in the TVC (in Kannada) claims, “Sunrich is healthier than the one cooked in the other oil”, “Sunrich Refined Sunflower Oil is clearer, lighter and healthier because of the unique seven stage refining process it goes through, which clears all impurities were not substantiated. In addition, the claim, “Other Oils for Name Sake only is Pure”, by implication is unfairly denigrating the competitor’s brand “Sunpure".
8. Perfetti Van Melle India Pvt. Ltd. (Center Fruit Endless):The visuals in the advertisement showing two children running behind a bus by looking at the picture of a chocolate in a busy street with vehicles in motion, encourages people, especially children, to indulge in dangerous practices without justifiable reason and manifests a disregard for safety. Regardless of the disclaimer, the advertisement sends out a wrong message.
9. Coca-Cola India Pvt. Ltd. (Coca-Cola Zero): The disclaimer in the advertisement of Coca-Cola Zero was not as per the size stipulated in the ASCI Guidelines for Supers. It was concluded that disclaimer in the advertisement is not legible. The advertisement contravened the ASCI Guidelines on Supers.
10. Inbisco India Private Limited (Joymee Noodles): The visual in the TVC of Joymee Noodles showing perfect round shaped onion rings as topping is misleading by gross exaggeration.
11. Vishnu Pouch Packaging Pvt. Ltd. (Vimal Pan Masala): In the TVC, website/internet advertisement, showcases actor Ajay Devgan celebrating 25 years of Vimal Pan Masala and is seen spraying saffron on other people. He is seen telling people that the celebrations would continue and they would surprise everybody. It was concluded that minors are very likely to be exposed to the TVC and the internet advertisement. Both, the product pack and the TVC, has in it, as per FSSAI rules a health warning that “Pan Masala is injurious to health”. The advertisement has presence of a celebrity from the field of cinema which would have a significant influence on minors who are likely to emulate the celebrity in using the product. The website/internet advertisement contravened Chapter III 2 (e) of the ASCI Code which specifically states that Advertisements “should not feature personalities from the field of sports, music and cinema for products which, by law, either require a health warning in their advertising or cannot be purchased by minors”.
12. The Annapurna Group (Annapurna Ghee): The voiceover sounding as “What the Fuck!” in the TVC is offensive.
The CCC found that claims in 13 advertisements were not substantiated and, thus, violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions. Hence complaints against these advertisements were upheld.
1. Rice Education: The claim in the advertisement, "The Best Training for Govt. Jobs Examination", is an absolute claim and was not substantiated with supporting comparative data versus other institutes.
2. Adamas Career: The claim in the advertisement, "The Best Choice for Medical and Engineering Entrance Examination", was not substantiated.
3. TathaGat (MBA Entrance / CAT coaching): The claim in the advertisement, “TathaGat is Delhi’s most successful MBA Entrance / CAT coaching institute for last 5 years now”, was not substantiated.
4. Think & Learn Pvt. Ltd. (Byju’s Cat Coaching Institute): The claims in the advertisement, “Best CAT Coaching Institute in Delhi”, and “CAT Coaching by India’s Best Trainers, Byju and Santosh”, were not substantiated.
5. Think & Learn Pvt. Ltd. (Byju’s Classes): The claim in the advertisement, “Join the best coaching for CAT and boost your CAT preparation”, was not substantiated.
6. IMS Learning Resources Pvt. Ltd. (IMS CAT Coaching): The claim in the advertisement, “Undisputed market leader in the field of Mgmt Entrance Training”, was false.
7. Bulls Eye: The claims in the advertisement, “Highest selection/conversion ratio in the industry”, “Best free prep website in India”, “Bulls eye test series is the best” and “Best free MBA preparation website in India”, were not substantiated.
8. CL Educate Ltd. (Career Launcher): The claims in the advertisement, “CL, No.1 CAT coaching institute with 9629 IIM Calls in CAT'14. Best MBA prep for CAT, IIFT, XAT, NMAT, SNAP Exams“, “Best MBA prep for CAT, IIFT, XAT, NMAT, SNAP Exams” were not substantiated. The claims were misleading by exaggeration.
9. Shanti Business School: The claims in the advertisement, “100% Placements (misprinted as 1 0%)” and “Average Package - INR 4.65 LPA” were not substantiated and when read in conjunction, were grossly misleading by implication of availability of higher salary packages.
10. National Banking Academy: The claim in the advertisement, “No.1 institute for BANK & SSC”, was not substantiated.
11. Career Launcher Ltd. CAT’16/17: The claim in the advertisement, “9629 IIM calls in CAT 2014”, was not adequately substantiated and was misleading by ambiguity and omission of mention of number of students.
12. Mewar Classes (Crash Course): The claim in the advertisement, “No. 1 coaching in Bhilwara”, was not substantiated.
13. Sriram Law Academy: The claim in the advertisement, “Sriram student secures All India 1st Rank for 12th year in a row!”, was not substantiated adequately and is misleading by ambiguity, as the advertiser does not mention the name of the test/exam in the advertisement, and has not submitted supporting data to prove that the photographs of students shown were actually 1st rankers and were from Sriram Law Academy.
1. PortaMart (Flip cover for Xolo Black 1x): The claim offer of, “Flip cover for Xolo Black 1x - in stock – Rs. 249/-”, is false. Also, the claim offers distorted facts and is misleading, as the product is actually not in stock and the advertiser is offering an alternative product in replacement of the same.
2. Xeroin Retail Pvt. Ltd. (Jabong.com- Offer of extra 30% Off): The claim in the advertisement, “Shop from app and get extra 30% off on minimum purchase of 2999, use code EXTRA30”, is false, and misleading by omission of the mention of the validity of the offer.
3. Amazon.com, Inc. (Adraxx Crosman Roof Prism Binoculars): The discrepancy between the specification declared on the Amazon.com web-site for Adraxx Crosman Roof Prism Binoculars, and the specification mentioned on the product visual led to the conclusion that the advertisement is misleading.
4. Ibibo Group P. Ltd. (redBus.in): The claim in the offer, “Mumbai to Goa Rs. 350/-”, is not substantiated with ticket reservation history corresponding to the period when the complainant visited the portal and is misleading.
5. HolidayIQ.in (Sweepstakes Offer): The Sweepstakes lucky draw contest was misleading by omission of mention of the date of execution and the date of announcements of winners of the lucky draw. The website contents did not show the T&C of the offer.
6. Facebook India (Facebook Free Basics): The claim in the advertisement, “Free Basics is at risk of being banned” was considered to be misleading by exaggeration. Further, the claim in the advertisement, “Through a trial of Free Basics by Facebook, Ganesh learnt new farming techniques that doubled his crop yield”, the farmer’s interview / testimonial is not an adequate substantiation for the claim quantifying doubling of crop yield directly attributable to the Free Basics trial by the farmer. Also, it was not conclusively proven what the crop yields were prior to Ganesh using internet and post using Free Basics trial. Using an individual testimonial without any claim support data, while reaching out to consumers at large, was considered to be misleading by implication and exaggeration. Also, in the absence of any disclaimer to that effect, the reference to the claim in the advertisement, “benefits of Free Internet” was misleading by ambiguity.
1. Karrm Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. (Karrm Infra): The claims in the advertisement, “Buy one flat & get 2 flats free”, and “100% assurance of flats or cash discount of same amount”, were not substantiated, and were misleading by exaggeration.
2. Balaji Telefilms Ltd. (Kya Kool Hai Hum): The suggestive scenes in the movie promo showing “two men and women on the beach” are indecent, vulgar and repulsive, which, in the light of generally prevailing standards of decency and proprietary, will cause grave and widespread offence to general public.
3. Viacom18 Media Private Limited (Bigg Boss 9): The TV promo advertisement, depicting the protagonists wearing shoes in a temple is likely to cause grave and widespread offence.
4. Times of India (CP Quiz):The claim in the advertisement, ‘Presenting India’s most challenging school quiz.’ was not substantiated by providing comparative data versus other contests of similar nature to support how this quiz is better in the challenge level and the claim of the “Most” challenging quiz.
5. Clat Possible - Founding Team: The claim in the advertisement, “founding team member Satyam Shanker Sahai finished runners up in the Grasim Mr. India 2003 rounds”, was not substantiated and was misleading by ambiguity.
6. Shoppers Stop Limited: The claim in the advertisement, “Shoppers Stop is proud to be ranked 25th in The Great Places To Work study 2015”, is misleading by ambiguity as the ranking list given in the supplement of Economic Times dated 13th July 2015 showed that it is at number 42 among Best workplaces in India.
7. Vodafone India Ltd (Superfast Vodafone Network): The claim in the advertisement, “superfast Vodafone network”, is a superlative claim that was not substantiated with any technical rationale or comparative data. Also, the claim is misleading in the absence of appropriate disclaimers.
8. Pritish Nandy Communications Ltd (Mastizaade Movie Trailer): Scenes in the Mastizaade movie trailer (internet version) – “20 seconds - Blow job scene”, “43 to 45 seconds - Woman's covering gets blown off”, “52 to 53 seconds – implying Semen splash”, “1.23 to 1.25 minutes - Coin jumps on erection”, “2.06 to 2.10 minutes - Time telling by pressing donkey's balls”, “2.23 to 2.31 minutes - French fries covered up by exposed breasts”, “2.41 to 2.48 minutes - man- donkey sex scene”, “3.06 to 3.15 minutes - Coin jumps on erection caused by woman's vulgar movements”, are indecent, vulgar and repulsive, which, in the light of generally prevailing standards of decency and proprietary, will cause grave and widespread offence to general public.
9. Bharti Airtel Ltd (Airtel Broadband): The web-site communication refers to the Airtel Broadband plan of INR 615 “per billing cycle”, but the billing plan was only available under a six months advance rental scheme. Thus, it was concluded in absence of any disclaimers, the website communication of “per billing cycle” was misleading by ambiguity.
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