This time around, several FMCG companies have come under ASCI's (Advertising Standards Council of India) scanner as complaints against their ads have been upheld by the Consumer Complaints Council for the period between January and Marchthis year.
Dabur, Hindustan Lever, Johnson & Johnson and Colgate Palmolive are the few FMCG majors who have had to withdraw their ads during this period.
For Dabur India, it was its Dabur Red Toothpaste; its pack claimed `strong teeth.' The TV commercial claimed `Get strong teeth from Dabur Red Toothpaste which contains laung, pudina and tomar.' According to the complaint made by a member of the dental profession, the ingredients declared on the pack are not scientifically and clinically proved to provide strong teeth. The claim is false and needs to be validated with clinically proven data, said ASCI. The TV commercial has been discontinued. Assurance is awaited from the advertiser on the modification of the promotion message on the product pack, said the advertising standards watchdog.
In the case of HLL, the radio commercials for Clinic All Clear Hair Defense claim "Baal girne ka sawaal nahi (question of hair fall does not arise)" was looked upon favourably by ASCI. Its hoardings also claim no dandruff and no hair fall. The complaint made is about the gross exaggeration of facts, said ASCI. The radio commercials distort facts and are misleading consumers into believing that Clinic All Clear stops hair fall. The ads from radio and hoardings have thus been withdrawn.
Johnson & Johnson's comparison of its Stayfree Secure Dry sanitary napkin brand to all napkins using a general descriptor of `mehenga napkin' is a gross exaggeration. The claim being `as good as' is vague and ambiguous as it does not specify the parameters on which Stayfree Secure Dry is considered equivalent to expensive napkins. According to the complaint made, by not specifying any particular brand of `expensive napkin' for comparison, the TV commercial is leaving the communication vague and implying `the market leader' position among the premium product segment.
"As the claim relies on a survey conducted by TNS India, one needs to scrutinise the survey design, methodology and questionnaire to check the validity of the survey, study the actual findings and check whether the same reflects in conclusion," ASCI stated. The TV commercial had been discontinued from March this year.
For Colgate Palmolive (India), it was its Colgate Sensitive Toothbrush being positioned as the Dentists' No.1 choice, which ASCI objected to.
"In the absence of a notation in the advertisement on the source supporting this claim, the advertiser is required to substantiate the claim," read the complaint. In this case, the ad has been discontinued and the advertiser has assured appropriate modification in future use.