101 misleading ads withdrawn after ASCI intervention

The regulatory body has also upheld complaints against 171 advertisements belonging to healthcare, real estate, personal care, visa/immigration and food and beverage sector

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: May 28, 2020 3:52 PM

During the month of February 2020, ASCI investigated complaints against 279 advertisements, of which 101 advertisements were promptly withdrawn by the advertisers on receipt of communication from ASCI. The independent Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI evaluated remaining 178 advertisements, of which complaints against 171 advertisements were upheld. Of these 171 advertisements, 77 belonged to the education sector, 59 belonged to the healthcare sector, six to real estate, five to visa/immigration services, five to personal care, four to the food & beverages sector, and 15 were from the ‘others’ category.

ASCI continues to see advertisements featuring celebrities falling short of adhering to “Guidelines for Celebrities in advertising”. Amongst the various advertisements that were scrutinized, CCC pulled up a misleading advertisement of a “gamified school education” app claiming it to be the biggest scholarship exam, and promising prize money worth up to Rs One Crore, featuring one of Bollywood’s legendary actor. An advertisement of herbal drops endorsed by a Bollywood celebrity made a misleading claim that it can save or protect from diseases by immunity enhancement. A fertility clinic was found to mislead their patients claiming it to be “India's Largest and Most Successful IVF and Fertility Chain” while co-promoting a movie with “IVF procedure mix up” theme, featuring four top Bollywood celebrities. Advertisement of a honey brand endorsed by an Olympic Badminton player made unsubstantiated claims like “Strengthen bones” and “Muscle redevelopment”.

A popular auto company, in a TV advertisement, depicted a pillion riding barber shaving the rider on a running motorcycle.  It showed a dangerous act with disregard for safety and challenged safe driving requirements. The advertisement contravened ASCI’s Guidelines for Advertisements depicting Automotive Vehicles.

ASCI also saw several Real estate companies making superlative / leadership claims. A few of them were specially focused providing senior living communities and townships. One well-known brand while promoting their township project for seniors, made unsubstantiated claim of being “India’s Largest Senior-Living Community”.

ASCI also processed complaints against several advertisements which guaranteed “100% Visa”, “100% Visa Success Ratio”, “No.1 Visa Company” either for work or education in countries which had stringent documentation mandates. Such misleading claims were likely to lead to widespread disappointment in the minds of students and job seekers.

The CCC upheld multiple complaints pertaining to advertisements from healthcare as well as educational sector wherein the advertisers claimed to have leadership positions or boasted about the awards they have won but failed to substantiate it with authentic and credible supporting ranking data or awards data. Shweta Purandare, ASCI Secretary General said “Our guidelines for Usage of Awards/ Rankings in Advertisements that were introduced in January 2020, are proving to be a timely step in the right direction. We are educating the advertisers that self-sponsored awards and ranking are on thin ice and will not hold any more. They need to know the rigor expected in claim substantiation when referring to awards and rankings in their advertisements”.

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