In April 2014, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 82 out of 124 advertisements. Out of 82 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 44 belonged to Personal and Healthcare category. In fact, the ‘upheld rate’ in this category was over 95 per cent (46 advertisements were complained against; 44 complaints were upheld).
The CCC found the claims in health and personal care product or service ads of 44 advertisers, released in the press, 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 ads also contravened provisions of the Drug & Magic Remedies Act.
Among these ads are those of Hindustan Unilever’s Axe Extra Strong, which claims that Axe has a crazy effect on women. The TVC shows indecent depiction of women, which is likely in the light of generally prevailing standards of decency to cause grave or widespread offence.
The advertisement of Marico’s Nihar Naturals Shanti Amla claims that “It is one of the fastest growing hair oil brands in the country,” which was found unsubstantiated. Also, the website advertisement of Nihar Naturals Shanti Amla claims to keep hair looking youthful for long. But what does keeping hair youthful for long mean? The CCC stated that the quality of hair depends on lot of things like lifestyle, diet, hair care, genetic factor and medical condition. All these factors together determine the characteristics of a person’s hair.
Godrej Consumer Products’ Godrej Expert Rich Crème Hair Color ad claims, “Aa gaya best ever hair color – Godrej Expert Riche Crème”, which is not qualified by any disclaimer or super. The claim has been creating a deceptive impression that it is the “best ever hair color”, while it is not substantiated with any supporting data.
The CCC found claims in print advertisements by 21 different advertisers that were not substantiated and thus, violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions and hence the complaints against these ads were upheld. These included ads of International Management Institute, Bharath University, Times Centre for Learning, and Punjab University (University Business School), among others.
Some other ads that violated ASCI’s code include those of Life Insurance Corporation, where the ad shows unreadable content on screen. The CCC concluded that the ad contravened the ASCI Guidelines on Supers in text and recommended that the audio mandatories should be at the speed of six syllables per second. The complaint was upheld.
The advertisement of Tata Sky Karaoke Application shows a male actor making fun of beggars who have leprosy and are visually challenged. The CCC concluded that the TVC derides “people who have leprosy and people who are visually challenged” and shows them in poor light. The complaint was upheld.
The ad for ICICI Bank (Corporate Banking Services) claims that ICICI Bank Corporate Banking Services offers 24-hour customer care services. However, when one rings the number, they say they are open only from 8AM to 8PM. The CCC concluded that the claim of 24-hour customer care services is misleading and the complaint was upheld.