ASCI upholds complaints against 132 ads; 67 pulled back
Of the ads facing action, 69 belonged to the education sector, 41 to healthcare, four to the food & beverages sector and two to personal care
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) during the month of May investigated complaints against 231 advertisements, of which 67 advertisements were promptly withdrawn by the advertisers upon receiving the ASCI communication. ASCI’s independent Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 132 advertisements, out of 164 advertisements evaluated by them. Of these, 69 belonged to the education sector, 41 to healthcare, four to the food & beverages sector, two to personal care, and 16 were from the ‘others’ category.
ASCI continues to see advertisements featuring celebrities falling foul of “Guidelines for Celebrities in advertising”. Amongst the various advertisements examined, CCC pulled up an advertisement where a cricketer was seen endorsing a mobile gaming app making a superlative claim without conclusive evidence of its market leadership. Another advertisement featured a celebrity endorsing a product as “organic” whereas this claim was not substantiated.
Among other advertisements, a high-end phone brand promised consumers of “extremely sharp and beautiful photo quality” while being ambiguous about requirement of additional hardware and software requirement for achieving the depicted picture quality. Another popular beverage brand insinuated that children could consume their beverage in place of the recommended daily intake of eight glasses of water. It also claimed to have the goodness of fruits and vitamins which was misleading by ambiguity and implication. A popular paint brand promised to purify indoor air and made an absolute claim of being able to kill germs.
A large number of complaints were pertaining to the education sector wherein the advertisers were making unsubstantiated claims of being No. 1 and this was also true for a private university. The CCC also came across a significant number of advertisement of hospitals and clinics which were misleading and exploited consumers lack of knowledge.
D Shivakumar, Chairman, ASCI said, “ASCI is a self-regulatory body that helps advertisers and consumer recognise and implement relevant and honest communication of brand messages. ASCI works with the Department of Consumer Affairs and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in ensuring that consumer awareness of their rights is fulfilled. ASCI is also working with celebrities and influencers to help educate them on what they should watch out for before endorsing brands. The CCPA is a welcome step after 34 years of the last consumer legislation and provides autonomy and authority at a district level.”
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