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Home shopping networks under ASCI scanner

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Home shopping networks under ASCI scanner

During the months of September and October 2011, Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints made against 10 ads, most of them being products of home shopping networks. During the same period, the CCC also did not uphold complaints against eight ads.

The CCC upheld the complaint against an ad released by Sandhee Suddham Oil on TVC Sky Shop Ltd, which claimed that using the product could alleviate problems related to pain. The claims were found to be gross exaggerations and were not yet proven scientifically.

Claims made by various talisman makers that boasted of reversing a spell of bad luck or providing relief from financial problems were also under the CCC’s scanner. These included ads of Divyarishi’s Kuber Kunji on GTM Teleshopping Pvt Ltd, the TVC for Badha Mukti Yantra, the ad for Shani Shubh Yantra, and the TVC for Maha Dhan Laxmi Yantra on AAA Teleshopping Pvt Ltd. In all the cases, the CCC concluded that in the absence of any response from the advertiser, the claims made in the ads and cited in the complaints were not substantiated and were likely to cause widespread disappointment in the minds of the consumers. The complaints were upheld. A complaint against Skymall/ Global Skyshop’s Sai Darshan Pendant was also upheld by the CCC on similar grounds.

Bharat Business Channel Ltd’s ad, which claimed that ‘Videocon d2h is the No. 1 DTH service’, was found to be in clear contradiction of the fact Videocon is neither the oldest nor the largest DTH service provider nor does it provide the largest number of channels. The ad was seen as being false and misleading and hence, the complaint was upheld.

Shri Lal Mahal Empire Basmati Rice’s recent ads were also under the CCC scanner with their claims on ‘Fat and Sugar Free Rice.’ As per the complaint, sugar, cholesterol, and being fat free are general characteristics of rice, and not limited to a particular brand. The CCC concluded that the claim was not substantiated and was misleading. The complaint was upheld.

The claims in the ad for Dr. Slim Tea on TVC Sky Shop Ltd, which stated that drinking this ‘herbal tea’ would lead to weight loss, were found to be unsubstantiated with technical data based on an independent clinical research. In the absence of comments from the advertiser, the CCC concluded that the claim was not substantiated and hence, the complaint was upheld.

The complaint against the TVC of Popular Finance – Gold Loan, which is said to have appeared on Asianet TV, was also upheld by the CCC. The TVC claimed that Popular Finance was ‘India’s No. 1 Gold Loan Company’, a claim that was found to be false, as Muthoot Finance is India’s largest gold loan company (in terms of Gold Loan Portfolio source: ICRA Management Consulting Service Ltd – IMACS report on Gold Loan Market in India).

During these two months, the CCC received complaints against Idea 3G, Maruti Stepney, Lilliput Kidswear, Rohit Surfactants Pvt’s ad of Expert Dishwash Bar, Ceat Tyres, Tata Docomo Mobile Network, Mankind Pharma Ltd’s Manforce Condoms and Max New York Life Insurance, among others. As these ads had not contravened ASCI’s codes or guidelines, they were not upheld.

Our typical marketing budget is usually 10 per cent of the topline spend

There are some forces impacting the way our business works. The IT/ITeS sector has changed tremendously. Platforms like Twitter have made everyone journalists. Smartphones have made everyone a photographer. The trend that we are seeing is one of hyperdigitalization, which is causing the lines between product and services to blur. For example, <a href=

The OOH sector is among the fastest growing, globally. Brands and marketers have realized its potential and impact and begun to craft medium-specific adverts. Self-regulation is not only necessary but also essential to growth of the sector. The industry needs to exercise a certain level of this self-restraint to prove its commitment to maintaining the best standards in advertising.

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