Complaints against ads of Yamaha Motor, Tata Steel, Xiaomi Logistics upheld by ASCI
ASCI upheld complaints against 89 advertisements out of the total of 162 that were evaluated by it
In April 2018, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 89 advertisements out of the total of 162 advertisements that were evaluated by it.
Out of the total 89 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 24 belonged to the healthcare sector, 34 to the education sector, 20 to the food & beverages category, two to the personal care and nine were from the ‘others’ category. A total of 101 advertisements were picked up by ASCI’s suo moto surveillance, wherein 31 cases were informally resolved as advertisements were voluntarily withdrawn and objections against 68 advertisements were upheld. Of the 61 advertisements for which complaints were received from general public or by industry members, 12 cases were informally resolved wherein the advertisements were voluntarily withdrawn and complaints against 21 advertisements were upheld by the CCC.
Exaggeration of product efficacy was the number one reason for upholding complaints. The other reasons included providing facts and figures which were inadequate to substantiate claims, exploiting consumers’ lack of knowledge, claims which were misleading by gross exaggeration and delivering advertisements which were misleading by ambiguity or by implication. 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.
Among the various complaints against advertisements, the CCC observed that a popular smartphone company was found to unethically attract customers by claiming the biggest sale ever in the history of India. Several advertisements used logos of AYUSH or FSSAI in their communication which was considered to be inappropriate as all AYUSH products in the market are required to have approval from the state licensing authorities, and calling it out separately as a claim is misleading by implication that Ministry of AYUSH or FSSAI has approved the product efficacy / claims made in the advertisement.
“ASCI’s work in monitoring Print and TV advertisements for AYUSH sector has also been recognized by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health & Family Welfare. The committee was of the view that collaborative efforts of the ministry, along with the DoCA, MIB and state governments, have certainly given results as misleading advertisements with respect to AYUSH drugs which have been unregulated so far have been controlled to an extent. ASCI’s inclusion in the AYUSH’s empowered committee earlier this year is a reflection of regulators’ recognition of ASCI’s consistent efforts to curb misleading advertisements” said Shweta Purandare, ASCI Secretary General.
Some of the brands against which complaints were upheld:
Perfetti Van Melle India Pvt. Ltd (Chupa Chup Sour Strip and Sour Bite): In the advertisement, the specific visuals in the TVC show the ‘principal/teacher tossing the candy in the air and catching the candy with his mouth’, and `teenagers tossing the candy in the air and catching it in their mouth’. The advertisement features dangerous acts which are likely to encourage minors to emulate such acts in a manner which could cause harm or injury. These depictions refer to dangerous practices without justifiable reason, manifest a disregard for safety and encourage negligence.
Jolly Healthcare (Jolly Vaseir): The advertisement’s claim, “Effective from first day”, was not substantiated with product efficacy data and is misleading by exaggeration. The claim, “Totally Ayurvedic”, was not substantiated with any evidence of the ingredients present in the product, and is misleading. The claim, “Recognition by Ministry of Ayurveda”, is misleading by implication that Ministry of AYUSH has approved the product efficacy / claims made in the advertisement.
Shape in Slimming Centre: The advertisement’s claims, “No medicine, No surgery, No crash diet, No Side-effect, 100% result oriented”, and “1 to 4 inches loss in just one session”, were not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence and with treatment efficacy data, and are misleading by exaggeration and exploits consumers’ lack of knowledge.
Aura Weight Loss Clinic: The advertisement’s claims, “Lose Up to four Kilograms in one Month”, and “No medicine, No surgery, No Side-effects”, were not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence, and with treatment efficacy data, and are misleading by exaggeration. The visual in the advertisement implies that significant weight loss around tummy would be feasible, which is also grossly misleading.
The Himalaya Drug Company (Himalaya Youth Eternity under Eye Cream): The advertisement’s claims, “Reduces crow’s feet, wrinkles, fine lines in four weeks”, “Reduces dark circles and under eye pigmentation”, and “Antioxidants help manage puffy morning eyes”, were inadequately substantiated and are misleading by exaggeration.
Xiaomi Logistics: The advertisement’s claim, “Biggest sale ever in the history of India. 3,00,000+ units* gone in < three minutes”, was not substantiated with any verifiable supporting data or with an independent third party audit or verification certificate, and is misleading by gross exaggeration.
Yamaha Motor Pvt Ltd (Yamaha FZ): In the advertisement, a specific visual showing the protagonist performing a wheelie shows a dangerous practice, manifests disregard for safety and encourages negligence.
Tata Steel Ltd (Tata Pipes): The advertisement’s claims, "Say No to Plastic" and "Let’s join hands against the Plastic Menace", are likely to mislead consumers to believe, without any justifiable basis, that all type of plastic is bad and should be banned, thereby denigrating the entire category of plastics. The claims are misleading by exaggeration of the issue related to plastic. The advertisement exploits consumers’ lack of knowledge and confers an artificial advantage upon the advertiser (for the advertiser’s product – plumbing and irrigation pipes), so as to suggest that a better bargain is offered than is truly the case.
Olivia Skin & Hair Clinic: The advertisement’s claim, “No.1 Clinic in Dermatology”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s clinic and other similar clinics in the same category or through third party validation. The claim was misleading by exaggeration.
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