During March and April 2012, the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), upheld complaints against twelve advertisements, most of them part of the healthcare and personal hygiene sector.
Among the upheld complaints were Vodafone’s latest, ‘Just you, just me’ campaign and Dainik Jagran.
Vodafone, a company usually known for its excellent taste in advertising, was under the radar in April. The ‘Just you, just me’ campaign has been a matter of debate across various media platforms and particularly amongst concerned parents since early last month. The ads show the Vodafone pug playing cupid to teenagers in different situations. The campaign has three sets of ads that are on air – one on ‘Instant connections’, second on ‘Uninterrupted conversations’ and the third on ‘Hear every second’.
The ‘Instant connections’ TVC has the pug deliberately snatching the girl’s scarf and leading her to the boy, so that the shy kids gets to initiate a conversation. The ‘Uninterrupted conversations’ ad shows the pug stopping a worker from climbing up the stairs of a building as the two children enjoy a secret conversation on the staircase. The third ad, ‘Hear every second’, has the pug alerting the boy about the girl riding on a cycle, on the basis of the bell which he hears from afar, so that the boy can get to watch her as she passes by his home.
The CCC concluded that the sexualised subtext of young teens being attracted to one another was likely to cause grave and widespread offence. Hence, the complaint was upheld.
Industry people had mix reactions on this. “The campaign from an advertiser’s point of view is crisp and is an interesting hit that fits the brand’s communication strategy. So from that point of view I personally didn’t find the ad cheesy but of course from a parental point of view it triggers a concern,” said Preeti Nair, Founder-Director, Curry Nation.
Another big name on the list of complains that were upheld was of Dainik Jagran. In April, media house Dainik Jagran’s two advertisements were pulled up for being false and misleading.
For their claim, ‘Haryana mein Dainik Jagran 2 guna Dainik Bhaskar se’ Dainik Jagran has used the data of readership in the city of Faridabad and implied all state leadership. As a standard practice while comparing two publications, city data cannot and must not be referred to as state’s data.
The CCC noted that the claim, ‘Haryana mein Dainik Jagran 2 guna Dainik Bhaskar se’ was not made on the basis Average Issue Readership (AIR), and hence was considered misleading. On another occasion, their advertisement which stated that Dainik Jagran is ‘Haryana’s No.1 newspaper,’ was also pulled up for misleading the readers by using visual aids to create the illusion of its leadership and gap between the newspaper brands. Complaints against both these print advertisements were upheld for being false and misleading.
Other advertisements against which complaints were upheld were that of Euro Fashion Inners, Sareen Hair Clinic, Fit and Fine Slimming Centre and Beauty Clinic, Fair Pharma, Smart Careers, Career Launcher, Stoss Welle Healthcare, Shree Baidyanath Ayurved Bhavan and Pernod Ricard.
The CCC also received complaints against twelve other advertisements that were not upheld as they did not contravene ASCI’s codes or guidelines. These complaints were against two advertisements of Perfetti Van Melle, and one each against Gulf Oil India, Hindustan Unilever’s Vim Detergent Bar, Cadbury India’s Perk Chocolate, Johnson’s Baby Top-To-Toe Wash, Hindustan Unilever’s Close Up toothpaste, Parle Mango Bite, Uninor, Hindustan Unilever’s Axe Shower Gel, and Tata Chemical’s Tata Swach Water Purifier.