The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) upheld complaints made against 23 advertisements out of 30 in August 2012. The ads belonged to sectors such as education, healthcare and FMCG. During the same period, ASCI did not uphold complaints against seven ads. The sharp increase in complaints is largely due to the National Advertising Monitoring Service (NAMS), which continues to monitor and pick up a large number of misleading advertisements across sectors.
ASCI withheld the complaint against the ad for Hindustan Unilever’s Rin detergent powder brand, which claims “only Rin has yellow fighters that brighten dull yellow clothes”. The CCC found the claim to be false and misleading as it is not the only detergent to do so.
Pepsodent Germicheck Magnet, another brand from the HUL stable was pulled up by ASCI based on a complaint filed by a customer, wherein instead of receiving a free 40 gm pack of Pepsodent G along with a 200 gm pack of Pepsodent Germicheck, the customer was given a free 40g pack Pepsodent Germicheck. The promotion message on the pack was found to be misleading and the complaint was upheld.
The CCC concluded that the claim made in HT Media’s ad for its Hindi daily Hindustan, titled ‘Hindustan ki Lehar’, was not substantiated by an independent research organisation. The ad claimed that Hindustan “has a circulation of 12 Lakh copies”, whereas as per the ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations) Jul-Dec 2011 figures, the circulation figure was 6.9 lakh copies across nine editions, while the other three editions were not reported by ABC.
Divya Bhaskar Group was under the scanner for two ads – one for Divya Marathi and the other for Dainik Bhaskar. The ad claimed that Divya Marathi was No. 1 daily by circulation across its five editions. The CCC said that the figures given are completely different from the circulation figures given by the ABC and are misleading.
In the case of Dainik Bhaskar, the ad claimed that “their readership is twice that of competition in Bhatinda city”. The CCC said was not substantiated by an independent research organisation and it was pointed out that the Indian readership Survey does not report figures for Bhatinda separately. A similar decision was taken by the CCC in the case of Dainik Bhaskar’s claim that “their readership is 20% more than that of the competition in Patiala city”.
The claim made in CavinKare’s Fairever Fairness Cream’s ad that it “prevents the skin from darkening”, was not substantiated by scientific proof and hence, the complaint was upheld.
The CCC concluded that the ad for Ultratech India’s brand 18 Again, a vaginal tightening and rejuvenation cream, was found to be vulgar, in light of the generally prevailing standards of decency and propriety. The complaint was upheld.
Among the other ads against whom complaints were upheld, included EMDI Institute of Media & Communication, TVC Sky Shop, Lida Biotech, NIFE Institute of Engineering, Global Heart Foundation, Sigma Institute of Management & Technology, Brad Enterprises, Sistema Shyam Teleservices, Telebrand India, Nirmeeti Health Care, MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Escorts - Farmtrac 40 Tractor, Bhopal Sahakari Dugdh Sangh Maryadit, and Mangalayatan University.
During August 2012, the CCC also received complaints against seven print ads of Whirlpool Cooking Appliances, Massey Ferguson Tractors, Hemor Rite, Metro Group of Hospitals, Graphic Era University, Best Brown Rice, and Mohak Hi-tech Specialty Hospital. However, as these advertisements did not contravene ASCI’s codes or guidelines, the complaints were not upheld.