In May 2015, ASCI's Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 100 out of 141 advertisements. Out of 100 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 46 belonged to the Personal and Healthcare category, followed by 22 advertisements in the Education category, 10 advertisements in Food and Beverage category, five advertisements in Telecom category and 17 advertisements from other categories.
HEALTH AND PERSONAL CARE
The CCC found the following claims in health and personal care product or service advertisements of 46 advertisers 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 advertisements also contravened provisions of the Drug & Magic Remedies Act and Chapter 1.1 and III.4 of the ASCI Code. Some of the complaints upheld against advertisements of popular products include:
Modi Naturals (Rizolo Rice Bran Oil) which claims on the pack "India's Finest Rice Bran Oil" and states the benefits of the product being, "Suitable for Diabetics", "Cholesterol Reduction", "Cancer Protection" and "Skin Health". All these claims were unsubstantiated.
Dabur India claims Dabur Keratex Oil to be "No 1* Oil" and "No. 1 oil for hair and Scalp". It further claims, "Dabur Keratex No. 1 Oil recommended by dermatologists", "Recommended by Leading Dermatologists as Best Hair Oil for Hair & Scalp Care", "Dabur Keratex has, in fact, been rated as The No.1 Branded Oil for Hair & Scalp Care by leading Dermatologists", "Hairfall control*", "Dandruff Control*", "Scalp nourishment*" and "*Dabur Keratex is effective Ayurvedic oil, formulated with selected herbs, that controls hair fall, dandruff and provide scalp nourishment". These claims were not adequately substantiated.
Additionally, the visual depiction in the advertisement for Dabur Babool, of "a boy (minor) bending a metal wire with his teeth", shows a dangerous act which is likely to encourage minors to emulate such acts in a manner which could cause harm or injury. So, the complaint was upheld.
The advertisement of Hindustan Unilever claims Surf Excel Matic to be"No. 1 Matic Brand Recommended by Manufacturers" was not substantiated with data which conclusively proves that the endorsers of Surf Excel Matic have a majority market share.
HUL’s Vaseline Healthy White advertisement claims "Paiye twacha jo dikhe chaar guna nikhri instantly" was not adequately substantiated. Also, the supers in the TVC did not meet the Super Guidelines criteria of hold duration.
The visuals in the advertisement of Fair & Lovely showing the transformation depict the protagonist as unhappy in pre-use state of the product. This contravened clause 2 of the ASCI guidelines for advertisement of fairness improvement products.
VLCC Health Care’s Sun Defense Range advertisement claims "Get complete protection from damaging sun rays" ("Suraj ki nuksan Dayak kirano se sampoorna suraksha payein"), is misleading by exaggeration.
FOOD & BEVERAGES
Pepsi Foods’ advertisement of Pepsi shows the scene of the "shopkeeper ignoring the person asking for water" which disparages a good dietary practice.
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare’s Horlicks Lite advertisement claims "Lite Horlicks ismain hain antioxidant nutrients jo zaruri hain body ko cell damage se protect karne ke liye" (with "+High Protein" claim in words). In the context of the overall communication, this claim was found to be misleading by implication. The company’s TVC for Horlick suggests that consumption of Horlicks can be initiated at the time of exams for better concentration. The voice over "Exam aage – Dhyaan na Bhaage" gives the impression of instant effect on consumption of the product whereas longevity of consumption of the product is necessary for efficacy. The claim was found misleading by ambiguity.
GlaxoSmithKline’s Boost advertisement claims its use "Increases stamina 3 times" was substantiated by a published research paper as per the J Nutr. September 2011. However this study was among young children. In this context, the depiction of adult cricketers juxtaposed with the claim of "X3" was considered to be misleading by implication. Also, the duration of the supers in the TVC was not for six seconds.
Idea Cellular’s advertisement of Idea Internet Network was found to be misleading by ambiguity as it led consumers to believe that through IIN a student can avail the same level of education as is being provided in a college. There is no data to support that the subjects being referred to in the advertisement are being made available for formal education.
The advertisement of Airtel claims, "India's Best 3G network". This claim was not adequately substantiated. Also, the claim "Airtel gives 122 per cent faster download speeds than other 3G networks" was unsubstantiated.
Similar complaints were made against Vodafone Mobile Network.
The Standard Chartered Bank advertisement's claim, "Spend Rs.30,000 in a year and we waive your joining fee", is misleading by omission in the absence of a disclaimer qualifying the terms and conditions of the offer.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India advertisement of IPL, shown on a children's channel, depicting "a ball kept in a microwave oven being blown up", shows a dangerous act which is likely to encourage minors to emulate such acts in a manner which could cause harm or injury.
Kalyan Jewellers’ advertisement shows "a small dark complexioned boy (minor) holding an umbrella", implies child labour which is against the law. Also, by implication, the advertisement derides colour.
An Amazon.in advertisement is marketing Samsung Galaxy S4 mobile at Rs. 17,999 portraying that a customer will save 57% as MRP of the phone is Rs. 41,500. The consumer has seen the product on the Amazon web-site and the transaction has been between the consumer and Amazon. Based on the details provided by the complainant i.e. actual MRP as printed on the packaging of phone, it was concluded that the web-site advertisement was misleading.