In June 2016, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 98 out of 159 advertisements. In the Food & Beverages segment, two of Patanjali Ayurved ads were pulled back, one for Patanjali juices and the other for Patanjali energy bar. The claims made for the above mentioned products were found to be misleading and denigrating the category.
Patanjali Juices failed to substantiate claims made in the commercial like “Will you still drink expensive fruit juices with less fruit pulp or drink cheaper Patanjali fruit juices with more fruit pulp for good health and more saving”, and was found to be grossly misleading. It was also found to unfairly denigrate the class/category of fruit juices.
While Patanjali Energy Bar claimed that “Chocolate ki buri aadat se chutkara payein” was not substantiated and was also found to be misleading. Again, the claim was found to malign the class/category of chocolates.
This is not for the first time that the advertising watchdog has upheld the brand’s ads. It has become a norm now every month. In fact, after declaring in July that it would take legal action against ASCI, the brand has now petitioned the Mumbai High Court. According to media reports on August 14, Baba Ramdev had filed a defamation suit and notice of motion against ASCI (seeking interim relief against the latter) for getting a series of notices on their advertisements from the regulatory body in recent months.
According to a recent piece of news which is getting a lot of social media attention is where Baba Ramdev takes a dig at Colgate through a new ad and his recent tweet on it. This was on account of the launch of Colgate's new all-herbal and indigenous toothpaste 'Colgate Cibaca Vedshakti'.
In the new ad, Patanjali states that all those MNCs who used to warn against the traditional use of salt and coal on teeth, has now actively started endorsing it. Patanjali further pointed out that these same brands have started emotionally blackmailing the consumers now by introducing products using the following ingredients like neem, salt and charcoal. It ends by asking consumers ‘Will you fall trap to these false claims made by these companies or use Patanjali Dant Kanti Advanced for your teeth?’
Despite the crackdown and criticism on the ads, Patanjali has been constantly on an expansion mode. The brand has also recently expressed their interest to enter the branded apparel segment with their ‘Swadeshi Jeans’ as a plan to compete with other multinational brands. At that point of time, he even showed interest in entering markets like Pakistan and Afghanistan, depending on the political situation of the countries. From shampoo, ghee, toothpaste, noodles, hair oil and now jeans, it will also soon be launching baby care products, a segment which is till now ruled by Johnson & Johnson.
Patanjali also recently announced that the group is aiming for a 100-200% growth over the next 5-10 years. It has also been reported that Baba Ramdev claims that this wouldn’t be an impossible feat with the brand diversifying into various segments. The distribution system and supply chain are also being strengthened to achieve this ambitious growth target. He also mentioned that the Patanjali network of 5,000-6,000 pan-India distributors and another 1000 megastores in high potential markets will boost the growth. It will also soon venture into online sales as per the collaboration with online shopping giant Amazon.
The brand is no stranger to scuffles either, Acharya Balkrishna, the CEO of Patanjali Ayurved, who recently debuted as a billionaire worth ₹25,6000 crore or $3.8 billion, has reportedly furnished a fake graduate degree in Sanskrit and a forged high school degree in order to acquire a passport.