In May 2016, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) report upheld 10 complaint cases against Patanjali Ayurved commercials. The ads were pulled up for being either misleading or false or not adequately/scientifically substantiated and hence violating ASCI’s Code. The advertising regulator had earlier upheld six cases against Patanjali in April and March 2016.
Patanjali Ayurved failed to substantiate its claim before the regulator regarding ads for products such as Divya Swasari Pravahi, Dant Kanti, Kesh Kanti Reetha Hair, Patanjali Kachi Ghani Mustard Oil, Patanjali Jeera Biscuit and others. According to reports, Patanjali has alleged that rival MNCs are involved behind the move. A company spokesperson also stated that they are exploring legal option in this matter.
This is not the first instance where the Rs 5,000-crore Patanjali Ayurved has got into trouble with the regulators over its claims. In the past, it has been pulled up on several instances. For example on an earlier instance, the advertising watchdog had pulled their ads because it denigrated the products of the rivals.
In the health care & personal care product or service advertisements, seven of Patanjali commercials were pulled up and three ads in the Food & Beverages section were upheld.
ASCI has pulled up 10 cases with Patanjali commercials:
1. Divya Swasari Pravahi: The advertisement’s claims, “Thousands of banned medicines are being sold in the market. The harmful results of these bad chemicals are surfacing now. Thousands of pharmaceutical companies are paying crores of rupees as a fine for this act. Besides this, health of people is getting affected by these chemicals”, were factually incorrect a mnd not substantiated with authentic supporting data and are misleading. Also, the claims are denigrating competition and put the entire allopathic cough and cold medicine category in bad light. Further, the claim regarding, Divya Pharmacy Ayurvedic medicines i.e. “These medicines have 0% side effects and 100% results”, was not substantiated and is misleading.
2. Obesity-Free Information Camp – Divya Mukta Vati & Divya Madhunashini Vati: The advertisement’s claim, “Conducting trials on over 1 crore people”, “It gives strength to pancreas & naturally controls diabetes” and “it also controls the most dangerous side effects of diabetes like neuropathy, nephropathy & retinopathy”, were not substantiated and are misleading by exaggeration.
3. Patanjali Dant Kanti: The advertisement’s claims, “It is trusted brands of crores of countrymen”, “herbal toothpaste”, “long duration protection” and “full profit of this product goes to educational charity” were not adequately substantiated and are misleading by ambiguity and exaggeration.
Divya Swasari Pravahi: The advertisement’s claims, “Their medicine has 0% side effect and 100% effective” and “They have used this product for more than 20 years on ‘lakhs and crores’ of people” were not substantiated and are misleading by exaggeration.
Patanjali Kesh Kanti Shikakai Hair Cleanser: The advertisement’s claim, “Reduces hair fall, greying and itchy scalp” was not substantiated and is misleading.
Patanjali Kesh Kanti Reetha Hair Cleanser: The advertisement’s claim, “strengthens roots” was not substantiated and is misleading.
Patanjali Kesh Kanti Natural Hair Cleanser: The advertisement’s claim of alleviating, “hair fall, hair breakage and dryness” was not substantiated and is misleading.
Patanjali Kachi Ghani Mustard Oil: The advertisement makes a sweeping statement that a majority of the products in the market are adulterated with addition of cheap palm oil. There was no authentic evidence to support this statement and the advertisement was misleading by exaggeration. The advertisement also unfairly denigrates other oil products calling them as cheap adulterants.
Patanjali Jeera Biscuit: The advertisement’s claim, “100 per cent Atta, cholesterol free, low Sodium salt”, is not substantiated and is misleading by ambiguity as the advertiser did not provide any quantitative declaration of the various ingredients used in the manufacturing of the product. Further, the advertisement claims, “Benefits of jeera”. It was acknowledged that Jeera (cumin) has benefits as a single ingredient, but its presence in the product was not substantiated to signify its quantity in the product. Also presentation of these claims on the packaging material (rich in iron increase haemoglobin and help in acidity and other stomach related problems) was misleading by implication that the product Jeera biscuit would provide those benefits.
Patanjali Kachi Ghani mustard oil: The advertisement’s claim, “Other than Kachi Ghani process most of the other edible refined oils and mustard oil are made using Neurotoxin Hexagon solvent extraction process, to make profits at cost of consumers’ health, many companies mix cheap palm oil in mustard oil” was not substantiated and the claims are misleading by gross exaggeration. The statement also unfairly denigrates other oils / mustard oil.