In June 2013, the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) upheld complaints against 144 ads. Most of the misleading ads were from the health and personal care category, followed by the education sector.
For the first time ever, ASCI has also tracked and upheld complaints against four online advertisements, out of which one is an advertisement of Hindustan Unilever on the YouTube channel.
ASCI, through the National Advertising Monitoring Service (NAMS), has already started post tracking of advertisements in print and TV against which complaints are upheld. Initial tracking results show overall there is 90 per cent compliance from advertisers on ASCI’s decisions.
The CCC found two personal care product ads released online violating Chapter III 1(b) of the ASCI Code as it derides colour of the skin. Complaints against these two ads were upheld. The first ad concerned HUL brand Ponds BB Cream, titled ‘The Future of India’. The ad goes on to talk about various benefits of the product and how women yearn to have fair skin.
The second ad concerns Emami Fair and Handsome cream, which showed a flow chart in their online ad that depicts the various problems such as inferiority complex, not good looking, etc., affecting people with dark skin colour.
An ad for HUL’s brand Sun Silk Perfect Straight was also upheld by the CCC. The ad had appeared online on the YouTube channel and showed a girl packing/ selecting all her hair straightening equipment and her friend telling her about a shampoo that can keep the hair perfectly straight after attending a gym session, party or even in other situations. The claim was found to be misleading and not adequately/ scientifically substantiated.
Lavanya Ayurvedic Hospital in its online advertisement claimed that it cures cancer and AIDS. This claim contravened provisions of the Drug & Magic Remedies Act and hence the complaint was upheld.