ASCI processes complaints against 295 advertisers, 265 regarding misleading ads

The most common reason for upholding complaints was superlative claims by advertisers, especially for education sector advertisements

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Nov 5, 2018 5:47 PM Updated: Nov 5, 2018 5:47 PM
ASCIlogo

In July 2018, ASCI investigated complaints against 295 advertisements. For 79 advertisements, the advertisers promptly ensured corrective action as soon as the complaints were received. ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 176 advertisements from a total of 216 advertisements evaluated. Of the 176 advertisements wherein the complaints were upheld, 111 belonged to the education sector, 25 to the food & beverages category, 21 to the healthcare sector, four to personal care and 15 were from the ‘others’ category.

The most common reason for upholding complaints was superlative claims by advertisers, especially for education sector advertisements. The claims were unsubstantiated and misleading that they provide 100% placement or they are No. 1. The other reasons comprised making claims which were misleading by ambiguity or by implication, exploiting consumers’ lack of knowledge and likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.

This was followed by violations of the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act (DMR Act) and the Drugs and Cosmetics (D&C) Rules and advertisements which contravened various ASCI guidelines.

Amongst various advertisements that were examined, the CCC observed some advertisements that were in violation of ASCI Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising. An eminent sports celebrity was found to endorse an artificial sweetener that claimed to control blood sugar. Another celebrity was found to endorse a shampoo brand promising to make your hair problem free. Furthermore, a renowned celebrity was found to endorse a water purifier wherein the claims made in the advertisement were not substantiated.

Commenting on the development, Shweta Purandare, Secretary General ASCI said, “ASCI’s Suo Moto surveillance of print and TV advertisements picks a large number of potentially misleading advertisements. The Consumer Complaints Council finds that a major proportion of these advertisements belong to the Education Sector. Educational Institutions which offer programs of education and training play a vital role in building educational capital in India. Parents, too, make great sacrifices to enable their children to get the right education. Therefore, a high incidence of misleading advertisements in this sector is worrisome and requires urgent attention from the Ministry of HRD."

Complaints against following advertisements were upheld:

Education: Total of 111 advertisements complained against Direct Complaints (Ten advertisements) Suo Moto Surveillance by ASCI (101 advertisements)

Food and Beverages: Total of 25 advertisements complained against Direct Complaints (14 advertisements) Suo Moto Surveillance by ASCI (11 advertisements)

Healthcare: Total of 21 advertisements complained against Direct Complaints (Three advertisements) Suo Moto Surveillance by ASCI (18 advertisements)

Personal Care: Total of Four advertisements complained against Direct Complaints (Two advertisements) Suo Moto Surveillance by ASCI (Two advertisements)

Other: Total of 15 advertisements complained against Direct Complaints (10 advertisements) Suo Moto Surveillance by ASCI (Five advertisements)

DIRECT COMPLAINTS

The advertisements given below were complained against by the general public or by industry members. Of the 103 advertisements complained against, for 24 cases the advertisements were promptly withdrawn by the advertiser on receiving ASCI communication. For the remaining 79 advertisements, complaints against 39 advertisements were upheld by the CCC of which 14 were of the Food & Beverages category, 10 belonged to the Education category, three advertisements belonged to Healthcare sector, two to Personal care sector, and 10 belonged to the ‘Others’ category.

FOOD AND BEVERAGES:

In several cases, it was observed that the advertisements exploit consumers’ lack of knowledge and are likely to lead to grave disappointment in the minds of consumers.

1. Danone: For the advertisement’s claims, "With the highest Protein", "Contains 50% more protein compared to other beverages in the market" the advertiser has compared their product with leading volume market share Health/Milk Food Drinks brands as defined by a Kantar study.

It was observed that the Health/Milk Food Drinks category includes drinks that have higher protein than Protinex as per the A C Nielsen retail audit, which were excluded in the comparison made by the advertiser. The claim was misleading by ambiguity and implication. Even though the claim "Leading hydrolysed protein supplement" is applicable to Protinex Original variant, the advertisement suggests that it is applicable to all the variants as displayed in the advertisement. This claim is misleading by implication and omission.

2. Shiv Agro Food Products (Shudh Amras): The advertisement’s claims, “Certified by National Laboratory” and “Pure natural Mango juice without essence or preservatives”, were not substantiated, and are misleading.

EDUCATION: 

The CCC found claims in the advertisements by five advertisers that were not substantiated and were in violation of ASCI Guidelines for Advertising for Educational Institutions.

1. Institute of Engineering & Management: The advertisement’s claims, “All Pass out Students Of All Batches Got one to two job offers on average" and "All eligible students got at least one job offer", were inadequately substantiated and are misleading by exaggeration and are likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.

2. Law Prep Tutorial: The advertisement’s claim, “Highest number of selections”, was not substantiated. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. The claim, “India’s Best CLAT Coaching”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and similar CLAT coaching institutes to prove that it is better than the rest or through an independent third-party validation. The source for the claim was not indicated in the advertisement. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and implication.

HEALTHCARE:

The CCC found claims of three advertisements in healthcare products or services to be either misleading or false or not adequately / scientifically substantiated; hence in violation of the ASCI Code. Complaints against the following advertisements were upheld.

1. Bhargava Phyto Lab Pvt Ltd: The advertisement’s claim, “Clinically Proven for acute and chronic Cervical Spondylitis and Cervical Spondylosis” was misleading by ambiguity and omission of the use of the product as an adjunct therapy. The claim, “Doctor’s Most Trusted Brand for Cervical Spondylitis” was not substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration and implication. Furthermore, the claim, “India’s No. 1 Selling Brand for Neck and Shoulder Pain” was not substantiated with verifiable comparative market share data (by volume/value) of the advertiser’s product and other similar brands in the same category. The claim is misleading by ambiguity and exaggeration.

2. Medlife International Private Limited (Medlife Copper Bottle): The advertisement’s claims, “With ayurvedic benefits”, “Helps in maintaining cardiovascular health and regulates the working of thyroid glands” and “Has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties which relieve aches caused due to inflamed joints and kill germs” were not substantiated with direct references from classical ayurvedic texts or with evidence for the claimed benefits of the product. The claims are misleading by exaggeration and are likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.

PERSONAL CARE:

1. Hindustan Unilever Ltd (Dove Go Body Lotion): The advertisement’s claim in the visual, “Get cool and fresh skin this summer with fresh cucumber and cool menthol” in the Facebook post video was inadequately substantiated. The corresponding claim in the Facebook post “Get cool and fresh skin with Dove Go Fresh Body lotion - With the goodness of cucumber, menthol and green tea to give you a boost of freshness” is misleading by ambiguity and implication.

OTHERS:

1. Natraj Atta Maker: The advertisement’s claim, “Their Atta Maker is the only Sarva Shreshtha (The Best)”, was not substantiated with any market survey data, or with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s atta maker and other atta maker brands to prove that their brand is the “only best” than the others, or through an independent third-party validation. Claim, “India’s No.1 Domestic Flourmill”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s atta maker brand and other atta maker brands to prove that they are in a leadership position; the source for this claim was not indicated in the advertisement. The claim, “More than 8 Lac Satisfied Customers”, was not substantiated with supporting evidence of customers who were satisfied with the product, or with any independent audit or verification certificate. The claims are misleading by exaggeration.

2. Hyundai Motors India Limited (Hyundai Creta): In the advertisement, Hyundai advertised about Creta’s facelift model. The advertisement also mentioned that special offer for select corporates, Doctors, CAs and SMEs. The said claim/ offer was not substantiated and was misleading by ambiguity and implication.

SUO MOTO Surveillance by ASCI

The advertisements mentioned below were picked through ASCI’s Suo Moto surveillance of Print and TV media via the National Advertisement Monitoring Services (NAMS) project. Out of total 192 advertisements, for 55 cases the advertisers withdrew the advertisements as soon as they received communication from ASCI and the rest 137 advertisements were considered to be misleading. Of the total of 137 advertisements, 101 belonged to the Education category, 18 advertisements belonged to the Healthcare category, 11 belonged to the Food & Beverages category, two to Personal care category, and five belonged to the ‘Others’ category.

EDUCATION:

1. Chandigarh University: The advertisement’s claim, “University with best placements”, was not substantiated with any market survey data or with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and similar institutes, to prove that it is better than the other universities in providing placements to their students, or through an independent third-party validation. The claim “Scholarship worth 10 crores.” was not substantiated with any evidence of such scholarships being provided or the financial provision made by the advertiser for the same. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.

2. Chandigarh University: The advertisement’s claim, “Limca Book of Records for the highest number of companies.” was not substantiated. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.

HEALTHCARE:

1. Sriram Clinic: The advertisement’s claim, “Electro homeopathic successfully treat arthritis, diabetes, asthma, piles, childlessness, hair fall, stones”, was not substantiated with any scientific rationale or evidence of treatment efficacy and is misleading by exaggeration. Specific to the claims implying a cure for asthma, arthritis, diabetes, and childlessness, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.

2. Royal Lips Lotion: The advertisement’s claim, “Remove blackness of lips permanently in just seven days through lotion”, was not substantiated with product efficacy data and the claim regarding permanency of action is misleading by exaggeration. Efficacy being depicted via images of before and after the use of the product was also misleading by exaggeration.

FOOD & BEVERAGE:

1. Kaleesuwari Refinery Private Limited: In the advertisement’s claims, “India s first cooking oil to be enriched with vitamin D3 from plant source”, “India’s only edible oil fortified with vegan vitamin D3” and “Healthy Heart”, no data was submitted to indicate that Vitamin D3 coming from a vegetarian source, in particular, has FSSAI’s approval. For the claims of “Healthy Heart” and “Good Immunity”, it was observed that as per the fortification guidelines issued by FSSAI, claims based on the presence of Vitamin D can only be to “Support strong bones”. These claims were not substantiated and are misleading.

2. Kaleesuwari Refinery Pvt Ltd (Gold Winner Vita D3): The advertisement’s claim, "Goldwinner Vita D3 is the first edible oil to come fortified with Vitamin D 3 as per FSSAI standard of fortification" is false and misleading by ambiguity and implication.

PERSONAL CARE:

1. Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare India P. Ltd (Dettol Cool): The advertisement’s claim, “Issi liye aapko chahiye strong protection”, “Dettol Cool gives 100% better protection”, is misleading by ambiguity and implication that Dettol Cool bar is better than ordinary soaps in providing protection from skin infections and that it has day long prophylactic effect. The claim exploits consumers’ lack of knowledge and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.

2. Azafran Innovacian Ltd (Azafran D’fend SPF 50+ Crème): The advertisement’s claim, “SPF 50+”, was not substantiated with evidence of the claimed SPF values. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.

OTHERS:

1. Dream11 Gaming Pvt Ltd (Dream11.com): The advertisement’s claim, “India’s Biggest Sports Game”, was misleading by omission to mention the category (Fantasy Sports) in which they are the biggest. The claim was also not qualified to mention the source and date of research.

2. Munna Agarbatti Company (Munna Agarbatti Range): The advertisement’s claim, India’s No.1 Natural Rajni Gandha Agarbatti”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s product and other agarbatti brands or through third party validation. The claim was misleading by exaggeration.

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
WhatsApp, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

Stay updated with the latest news in the Marketing & Advertising sector with our daily newsletter

By clicking Sign Up, I agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.