ASCI upholds complaints against ads of Pepsi, Limca, Colgate, HUL, Marico in May 2018
In May 2018, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 143 advertisements out of the total of 260 advertisements that were evaluated by the CCC
Published - Aug 27, 2018 2:09 PM Updated: Aug 27, 2018 2:09 PM
In May 2018, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 143 advertisements out of the total of 260 advertisements that were evaluated by the CCC. A total of 140 advertisements were picked up by ASCI’s suo moto surveillance, wherein 33 cases were informally resolved as advertisements were voluntarily withdrawn and objections against 106 advertisements were upheld. Of the 120 advertisements complained against by the general public or by industry members, 17 cases were informally resolved wherein the advertisements were voluntarily withdrawn and complaints against 37 advertisements were upheld by the CCC.
The most common reason for upholding complaints was exaggeration of product efficacy. 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. The other reasons included providing facts and figures which were inadequate to substantiate claims, improper use of the FSSAI logo, exploiting consumers’ lack of knowledge, claims which were misleading by ambiguity or by implication.
Among the various complaints against advertisements, the CCC observed that celebrities endorsed unsafe practices as seen in case of prominent beverage companies and for a mosquito repellent product. Such depiction may influence minors to emulate such acts. Celebrities also endorsed misleading claims in the product category of hair oil, shampoo, innerwear and audio speakers. These advertisements contravened ASCI Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising. Advertisements by a well-known homeopathy practitioner were misleading exploiting consumers’ lack of knowledge and are likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
“ASCI is working closely with various Government bodies to establish an effective and transparent self‐ regulation code for the advertising industry, which upholds the highest professional and ethical standards. ASCI prides itself on its impressive track record of effectively and expeditiously disposing of consumer complaints against misleading advertisements, thereby giving form to the rights conferred upon consumers to protect them from deceptive advertisements,” said Abanti Sankaranarayanan, Chairman, ASCI.
The advertisements given below were complained against by the general public or by industry members. Complaints against the following three advertisements were upheld as the advertisements violated Chapter III (Against harmful situations) of the ASCI Code.
The below advertisements violated Chapter III (Unsafe Practices) of ASCI Code:
1. PepsiCo India – Pepsi: In the television advertisement, the visual showing the protagonist running on the platform in particular, shows a dangerous practice that may influence minors to emulate such acts. This manifests a disregard for safety and encourages negligence.
2. The Coca‐Cola India‐ Limca: In the television advertisement, the visual of the protagonist along with his friends falling from a human pyramid from the height of second floor of the building and falling onto the ground which turns into a pool cannot be considered as hyperbole. The actions shown manifest disregard for safety and encourage negligence and may influence minors to emulate such acts.
3. Sree Muralikrishna Soap Works (JIL Washing Powder and Soap): In the advertisement, the specific visual showing the wife putting her husband in the washing machine was dangerous and had the potential of encouraging the children to imitate such acts, which could be life‐ threatening. Regardless of the disclaimer, this act shown in the TVC encourages dangerous practices, manifests disregard for safety and encourages negligence.
Out of 120 advertisements, 37 advertisements were considered to be misleading. Of the total of 37 advertisements, eight advertisements belonged to the Personal Care category, eight to Education category, seven belonged to the Food & Beverages category, six advertisements belonged to healthcare category, and eight belonged to the ‘Others’ category.
PERSONAL CARE: ‐
1. Hindustan Unilever Limited (Pure Derm Anti Dandruff Shampoo): The advertisement’s claim, “Wash your hair every day with PURE DERM, dandruff goes and won’t come back” endorsed by Anushka Sharma is an absolute claim and was not adequately substantiated. The claim was misleading by exaggeration. The advertisement also contravened the ASCI Guidelines for Celebrities in advertising put forth by ASCI. The advertiser did not furnish any evidence of the consent of the celebrity for the above mentioned claim, hence it was concluded that the print advertisement was in contravention of the Guidelines for Celebrities in advertising.
2. Colgate‐Palmolive (India) Limited‐ Colgate Herbal Natural Toothpaste: The advertisement’s claim, “Natural toothpaste” was not substantiated and is misleading by implication. The claim exploits consumers’ lack of knowledge and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
3. Marico Ltd. (Nihar Shanti Badam Amla Hair Oil): In the advertisement, celebrity Vidya Balan claims that Nihar Shanti Amla has the goodness of badam (almonds) which gives black, silky hair. The advertisement is misleading by ambiguity and implication because there appears to be a contextual comparison with amla oil but there is no substantiation superiority over amla, nor does the consumer study indicate superiority of the product to other oils. The claim also attributes the benefit of black silky hair to “goodness of badam” which was not substantiated. The claim is misleading by ambiguity and implication that almond content in the oil is responsible for black hair and not just presence of Amla. The advertisement contravened ASCI Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising.
Others ads upheld under this category were: Cosmos Online Pvt Ltd (Gizmobaba Laser power grow comb), Renovision Exports Pvt Ltd. (Orthovit Oil and Capsules), Prince Pharma (2 Much Breast Cream), IncNut Digital Pvt Ltd (Amaira Ayurvedic Hair Growth Oil) and Sarina Herbal Pvt Ltd (Zulfraj Hair Oil and Shampoo.
Upheld ads were that of LegalEdge Tutorials, Byju’s –The Learning App, Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd (Bennett University), BITT Polytechnic, Jet Overseas Private Limited, Made Easy Group (NEXT IAS),
School of Indian Hotel Management and Capable Workforce –Bharat Sevak Samaj.
Under FOOD AND BEVERAGES ads upheld were: Baidyanath Kesari Kalp: The advertisement’s claims, “Grow Younger, Stay Young” and “Now double power with dry fruits”, were not substantiated. The claims are misleading by exaggeration. PEPSICO INDIA’s Quaker Oats: The advertisement’s claim, “Quaker Oats me hai “2X MORE PROTEIN AND FIBRE” seeks to mislead consumers into believing that 2x protein and fibre is true as against other oats, the disclaimer states that the comparison is clearly against cornflakes. Ads of Dabur Honey, Tata Rock Salt and Crown Beers India Private Limited were found to be misleading.
The CCC found claims of six 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: Dr. Detox Weight Loss Clinic, Prince Pharma / 2 Much Gold, Luna Pharma / Stonecure, Natural Care, Beaut N Hea and Shathayu Ayurveda.
Ads of Lux Venus Innerwear starring Amitabh Bachchan, Sonalika Tyres, Whirlpool 3D Inverter AC, Reckitt Benckiser (India) Private Limited (Mortein Insta Tulsi), Elica Chimney and KAFF Kitchen Appliances were also upheld.
SUO MOTO Surveillance by ASCI
The advertisements given below were picked up through ASCI’s Suo Moto surveillance of Print and TV media via the National Advertisement Monitoring Services (NAMS) project. Out of 140 advertisements that were picked up, 106 advertisements were considered to be misleading. Of the total of 106 advertisements, 53 belonged to the Education category, 36 advertisements belonged to the Healthcare category, eight belonged to the Food & Beverages category, two to Personal Care category, and seven belonged to the ‘Others’ category.
The CCC found following claims in the advertisements by 14 advertisers that were not substantiated and thus, in violation of ASCI Guidelines for Advertising for Educational Institutions.
1. Banasthali Vidyapith: The advertisement’s claim, “Banasthali Vidyapith is the world’s largest fully residential university for women”, was inadequately substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration.
Under this, ads of Bragnam Pre School, MGM Public School, Mindseed Pre School, Yaduvanshi Shiksha Niketan, Rao IIT Academy, Zee Interactive Learning System ‐ Kidzee Pre School, Taxila Business School, Scottish International School, Shemrock and Shemford Group of Schools (Shemford Futuristic School), Aakash Educational Services Ltd (Aakash Medical IIT ‐ JEE Foundation), The Santa Kidz, Deeksha Classes, and SP Smart Digital, were upheld.
Complaints against advertisements of 39 educational institutes listed below are UPHELD mainly because of unsubstantiated claims AND/OR misleading claims that they provide 100% placement/ placement assistance AND/OR they claim to be the No.1 in their respective fields.
Travedo Institute of Hotel Management, Golden Dreams, Institute of Science and Management, Mumbai International School, Aashvi Academy, Academics Future Solution Group, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Bansal Classes Pvt Ltd, Clat Prep Education, Crux Academy, Focus Academy for Competitive Exams, Arcot Sri Mahalakshmi Womens College, Bansal Classes, Dhokai Classes, IBT Institute Pvt. Ltd, IFBI ‐ Institute of Finance, Banking and Insurance, Kautilya Classes, Pahal Design, Rao IIT Academy, Safal Academy, Scope Computer Education, Global Institute of hotel and hospitality management, Big Learnings, Media 3 International Pvt. Ltd ‐ Media , Ahire Classes, Akbar Academy of Airline Studies ,Bodhi School International, Daiya Classes, Dashmesh Academy, Dev Classes, IBT Institute Pvt. Ltd, Ishwar Kripa Career Institute, Law Prep Tutorial, Narendra Tiwari IAS Academy, All India Education Research Academy Ltd ‐ ERA Kids A Play School, Prayas Academy, Bismi Educational Trust‐ VICT Group of Educational Institutions, Vinayaka Missions Research Foundation, AICP‐ Ashutosh Institute for Computer Professionals
1. Jyothy Laboratories Ltd: The claim “organic” in the TVC is likely to be perceived by consumers as something which is “Natural” or “Not chemical” and not as “an organic chemical compound” as has been supported via certification. Based on the advertiser’s response with the supporting technical data, the advertisement’s claim, “100% organic” is misleading by omission of the word “chemical”. The claim exploits consumers’ lack of knowledge and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
2. Dr. Batra’s Positive Health Clinic – Dr. Batra’s Homeopathic Clinic: The advertisement’s claim, “Proven and preferred” was not substantiated. The claim, “100% Cure”, in the context of conditions shown in the advertisement of baldness, white spots, psoriasis was not proven with any clinical evidence. The claims are misleading by exaggeration and specific to the visual and claim implying cure for vitiligo /white spots, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act. The claims are likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
3. Dr. Batra’s Positive Health Clinic - Dr. Batra’s Homeopathic Clinic: The advertisement’s claims, “India's most trusted homeopathy brand” was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s brand and other similar Homeopathy brands in India, or through a third party validation. The superlative claim is misleading by exaggeration. The claim “Stem cell treatment, after six weeks new hair gets developed” was not substantiated with any scientific evidence or proof of product efficacy. The claims are misleading, exploit consumers’ lack of knowledge and are likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
Also upheld were ads of (YLG) R and R Salons Pvt Ltd, Sri Sai Healthcare, Dr. Samrat Clinic Pvt Ltd – Dr. Samrat Clinic, Homeocare, D.S Research Centre, Gen Siddha Hospital, Trivancore Ayurvedic Hospital, Vital Clinic, Woodlands Hospital to name a few.
FOOD & BEVERAGE: Maans Products (India) – Nirdosh Cigarette, Emprove Green Coffee, Mr. Gold Refined Groundnut, India Gate Brown Basmati Rice, Gopal Bhog Atta and more.
PERSONAL CARE: ‐
1. Lotus Herbals Ltd – Lotus Colorkick Lip Sugar: The advertisement’s claim, “Colorkick Lip Sugar with SPF‐20” was not substantiated with evidence of product efficacy or technical rationale and the claim misleading.
2. Besure Healthcare Pvt Ltd/ Besure Black & Beauty Charcoal Soap: The advertisement’s claims, “Protects skin from within” and “Reduces pore size and lightens underarms”, were not substantiated with any technical rationale or evidence of product efficacy. The claims, in the context of a bathing soap, are misleading by exaggeration.
OTHERS: Gupta Builders & Promoters Pvt Ltd (GBP Centrum), Zebronics, Cambridge Clothing Company, Madura Fashion & Lifestyle (Van Heusen Anti‐Bacterial Innerwear), Scotch Brite Antibacterial Scrub Pad, Vaani Water Purifier and Pommys Nighties & Inner Wears ads were upheld too.
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