Complaints against ads of Quaker, Rasna, Jio, Republic TV upheld by ASCI in June 2018

In June 2018, ASCI investigated complaints against 208 advertisements

D shivakumar ASCI

In June 2018, ASCI investigated complaints against 208 advertisements. For 63 advertisements, the advertisers promptly ensured corrective action as soon as the complaints were received. ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 89 advertisements from a total of 145  advertisements evaluated by them.  

The most common reason for upholding complaints was exaggeration of product efficacy and exploiting consumers’ lack of knowledge. 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. Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) has engaged with ASCI to process complaints against misleading advertisements.

“ASCI’s evolving self-regulatory framework continues to be responsible and responsive to the needs of the consumers, the advertising industry and the regulators. Our focussed efforts towards building awareness and establishing better compliance in the industry, will continue to make a positive contribution to the advertising ecosystem.” said Shivakumar, Chairman, ASCI.

Direct Complaints

Complaints against the following advertisements were upheld as the advertisements were in violation of ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising:

PepsiCo India Holding P. Ltd (Quaker Oats): In the advertisement, a lady conveys that being a play school teacher is like doing sprints and sit ups whole day. Celebrity chef Vikas Khanna conveys that Alisha Merchant eats Quaker oats which consists of two times more protein and fibre, immunity supporting micronutrient and nutritious energy that keeps you going. Claim “Quaker Oats me hai 2x More Protein and Fibre” was qualified with a disclaimer “*Per serve comparison with cornflakes. Reference: Atlas of Indian Foods”, which was not legible and not as per ASCI Guidelines on Disclaimers (font size, contrast, hold duration).  The commercial was considered to be misleading by ambiguity and omission of the direct reference of such comparison in the Voice Over itself.  The advertisement’s claim “Two times more protein” was misleading by ambiguity and implication and the commercial under reference contravened ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising.

The below two advertisements violated Chapter III (Unsafe Practices) of ASCI Code:

SpiceJet Ltd (SpiceJet): The visual of “a man inserting loose wires into a power socket and getting an electric shock, and also shown repeating this act again”, shows an unsafe and a dangerous practice, which manifests a disregard for safety and encourages negligence. It was also observed that dangerous act such as this is likely to encourage minors to emulate it in a manner which could cause harm or injury, and lead to them suffering shocks.

Malayala Manorama: In the advertisement, actor Dulquer Salman is playing the main lead of the driver who provides lift to different people without wearing a seat belt. It was concluded that the scene in the commercial of “a model in a car not wearing a seat belt while driving”, shows an unsafe practice. The commercial is likely to mislead consumers by implying that seat belt is not compulsory while driving.

Personal Care:

Hindustan Unilever Ltd (Lifebuoy Soap): The television advertisement when seen in totality creates an impression that Lifebuoy is recommended by doctors. This is emphasized by the celebrity posing as a doctor wherein she states “doctor se suno” and in the last frame of the commercial showing four persons in white coat giving an impression that doctors have endorsed this product. In view of the Code of Medical Ethics prohibiting doctors from endorsing any product and in absence of any market research data indicating that medical professionals in general recommend the advertised product, such visual presentation was considered to be misleading by ambiguity and implication.

RSPL Limited (Venus Crème Bar): The advertisement’s claim, Venus crème bar made of natural cream that goes to the depth of the skin”, was not substantiated and is misleading by ambiguity and implication.

Food and Beverages:

Kraft  Heinz  India  Private  Ltd  -  Complan: The advertisement’s claims, ONLY one cup of Complan has protein equivalent to one egg” and “Other Health drinks provide protein equivalent to half egg only.” were not substantiated.  “Only Complan” is hyperbolic and the word ‘Only’ pertains to a comparison with similar products i.e. health food drinks catering to healthy growing children aged between 5 -15 years which are in competition with ‘Core Range’ of Complan. The claims were considered to be misleading by ambiguity and exaggeration as well as in contravention of the ASCI Guidelines on Disclaimers.

PepsiCo India Holding P. Ltd (New Tropicana Essentials-Fruits and Veggies): The advertisement’s claim, “New Tropicana Essentials” did not provide any supporting evidence to show that Tropicana Essentials was a “New” product at the time of publishing the advertisement. The claim was misleading. Moreover, the claim “Why would I eat something which has hair?” read in conjunction with a picture showing “drawing of a carrot” and reference to “all goodness, no excuses”, disparaged good dietary practice and selection of options, such as fresh vegetables that accepted dietary opinion recommends should form part of the normal diet.  The advertisement contravened ASCI Guidelines on Advertising of Foods & Beverages. Ads of Wild Vitamin Water), Faasos Food Services Pvt Ltd, Britannia Whole Wheat Bread) were also pulled up by ASCI.

Other:

Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd: The advertisement’s claims “Best Network and World’s largest mobile data network” are misleading by ambiguity and implication as they refers to only “consumption of data” and not the extent and infrastructure of network.  The claim “Best Entertainment” was not substantiated with the superlative claim of being the best was misleading by ambiguity. Furthermore, the claim “Best post-paid offers” was not clear in terms of which aspect of the advertiser’s product is being compared with which aspects of the competitor’s product. The advertisement is misleading by omission.

Myntra.com: The advertisement’s claim, "Here’s Rs. 300 on us”, is misleading by ambiguity and omission that the offer is only on select products, and that the offer is subject to terms and conditions. The advertiser did not provide the terms and conditions of the offer nor a link showing the same which would have informed the customer about the conditions.

Yatra Online Private Limited (Yatra.com): In the advertisement, the claim offer related to the Fare Type “refundable” was misleading by ambiguity regarding the extent and conditions of the refund, and by omission of a qualifier to mention that it is subject to terms and conditions.

Borosil Limited Glass Works (Borosil):  The advertisement’s claim, (in Hindi) in the commercial, “Borosil ka glass lunch box, yeh khaane mein chemicals nahin chodtha” was not adequately substantiated. The claim is misleading by ambiguity and gross exaggeration and exploits consumer’s lack of knowledge.  The words referred to in the commercial, “Plastic paratha”, “Gobi Plastic Pasanda”, and “Plastic ka Halwa”, are misleading by implication that the food has become like plastic by being carried in a plastic container and is harmful for health (as they leach chemicals into food), was inadequately substantiated for food grade plastic material, and unfairly denigrated the entire class/category of containers made of food grade plastics.

Suzuki Motorcycle India Pvt Ltd. (Suzuki Access 125): The advertisement’s claim, (in Marathi), “Uttam Mileage Saha” and “Kumi Peete”, were inadequately substantiated. The claims are misleading by omission of the basis of comparison and implication that the vehicle gives better mileage than other two wheeler brands available in the market. The seat length data provided was a simple measurement given only in comparison with Honda Activa. The seat storage data provided were snapshots taken from web page of Suzuki and Honda, respectively.  No data was provided to justify comparison with just one competing brand. The claims, “Zaasth Lambh seat”, “Motay storage” are misleading by omission of the basis of comparison and implication that the vehicle has better features than other two wheeler brands available in the market.


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 102 advertisements that were picked up, 49 advertisements were considered to be misleading. Of the total of 49 advertisements, 16 advertisements belonged to the Healthcare category, 16 belonged to the Education category, six belonged to the Food & Beverages category, one to Personal care category,  and ten belonged to the ‘Others’ category.

The below advertisement violated ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising:

Rasna Private Limited (Rasna): The advertisements claim, “Natural Fruit Energy”, was inadequately substantiated and is misleading by ambiguity and implication about the fruit content in the product.  The visual of celebrity Kareena Kapoor when seen in conjunction with the claim is likely to mislead consumers regarding the nature of product benefit and contravened the Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising. 

Some ads upheld under HEALTHCARE: Fortis Healthcare Ltd, VLCC Healthcare, Samson Slim Care, Cancer Healer Centre, Lokmanya Medical Foundation (Lokmanya Hospital), Shape in Slimming Centre, Apple Hospital & Test Tube Baby Centre.

Education:

The CCC found claims in the advertisements by 16 advertisers that were not substantiated and thus, in violation of ASCI Guidelines for Advertising for Educational Institutions. These include: The Evolving Minds – The Evolving Minds Preschool, Rect Polytechnic College, Lovely Professional University, Pallavi Model School, Vidyamandir Classes and New Gurukul Science Coaching.

Complaints against advertisements of eight 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.

Koneru Lakshmaiah Education Foundation, Samrat College, Sojatia Classes, Shree Dev Bhoomi Institute of Education  Science & Technology, The Vision Education Group – Vision PU College, ITM Group of Institutions- ITM Institute of Hotel Management, Little Wonders International, Haryana College of Fire & Safety Management.

Some ads under Food & Beverage:

Organic India Pvt Ltd (Organic Honey and Organic Ghee): The advertisement’s claim, “Organic Ghee”, was not substantiated for its organic claim for marketing status and is misleading by ambiguity and implication. The claim, “Organic Honey Wild Forest - Boosts immunity and is a source of good bacteria”, was not substantiated and is misleading by ambiguity and implication.

Premium Foods India (Premium Foods Range): The advertisement’s claim, “No.1 brand of Kerala”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s product and other brands of instant food products, to prove that it is in leadership position,(No.1 Brand) in Kerala, or through a third party validation. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and implication.

MBS Beverage Pvt Ltd  (MBS Cola): The advertisement’s claim, “Odisha's No.1 Beverage Company”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s firm and other beverage companies, to prove that it is in leadership position (No.1) in Odisha or through a third party validation. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and implication.

Personal Care:

Lotus Herbals Pvt. Ltd (Lotus Professional PhytoRx Sun Protection Range): The advertisement’s claim, “Nature's most effective shield against the sun”, was a superlative claim which not substantiated with evidence of product efficacy and with technical tests/trial reports and is misleading by gross exaggeration. The product packaging claims in the advertisement - “SPF 70 PA+++ PhytoRx Ultra Protect Sunblock”, “SPF 50 PA+++ PhytoRx Sunblock Mist”, and “SPF 30 PA++ PhytoRx UV Screen Gel”, were not substantiated with evidence of the claimed SPF/ PA values. The claims are misleading by exaggeration and likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. 


Others:

For six different advertisements of the following Jewellery brands, the claim, “India's Most Preferred Jeweller”, was not substantiated with verifiable comparative data / market survey data of the advertiser’s product and other competitor diamond jewellers or through a third party validation. The source and date of the claim was not mentioned and the claim is misleading by ambiguity and omission.

  1. Nirvana Diamond Jewellery
  2. Asmi Diamond Jewellery
  3. Nakshatra Diamonds
  4. Gitanjali Jewels
  5. Gili
  6. Sangini Diamond Jewellers
  7. ARG Outlier Media Asianet News P. Ltd (Republic TV): In the advertisement’s claim, the disclaimer put by the advertiser for the claim "India's No. 1 Channel" is based on one day data (Period: Week 21 - 2018) and not four consecutive weeks of data and also the data was for week days excluding weekend (Day: Week days) and not for entire week as per Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). Therefore, it violates BARC Principles. The subject matter of comparison is chosen in such a way so as to confer an artificial advantage upon the advertiser so as to suggest that a better bargain is offered than is truly the case. Hence, the claim "India's No. 1 Channel" disclaimers in the ad were too small which  contravened ASCI’s Guidelines on disclaimers
  8. Doms Industries Pvt Ltd: The advertisement’s claim, “India's No.1 Brand - 2017”, and “India's No.1 Stationery Brand”, were inadequately substantiated and are misleading by exaggeration. 
  9. Sahara India Commercial Corporation Ltd – RML Sahara Ganj: The advertisement’s claim, “The nationally awarded mall”, was not substantiated with details of the criteria for granting the award, references of the award received such as the year, source and category. Also the claim is misleading by ambiguity and exaggeration.
  10. Action Footwear – (Action Plus): The advertisement’s claim, “Awarded as leading power brand of India”, was not substantiated with copy of the award certificate, details of the criteria for granting the award, references of the awards received such as the year, source and category. The claim is misleading by omission of disclaimer to qualify this claim. 
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